As we posted on our website last week, the FDA published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) that extended the FDA menu compliance date of the Regulation and introduced a 60-day comment period. This news was welcomed by most in our industry as many foodservice retailers are still working towards compliance with the regulation.
As part of Abierto’s “FDA Menu Labeling Regulatory Update” at the CSP Foodservice Forum held May 3rd to 5th in Chicago, Rick Sales, president of Abierto shared with attendees the impact of this new IFR. “Other than the introduction of a 60-day comment period, not much has changed” said Sales. “Before the IFR came out, true enforcement was already planned for May of 2018, as the FDA had stated that their activities for the first year (2017 to 2018) would focus on education and outreach.”
In addition to formally delaying enforcement to May of 2018, the intent of the IFR is also to seek suggestions on “approaches to reduce the regulatory burden or increase flexibility”. Mr. Sales added that “all retailers should take advantage of the 60-day comment period, especially those who like the changes suggested by the Common Sense in Menu Labeling Act”. (Remember that the Common Sense Act is a bill passed by the Senate and it IS NOT the law. Currently, the FDA Menu Labeling regulation is the only law governing this matter.)
We encourage all retailers to continue their efforts to determine the Nutritional and Caloric content of their Foodservice items. Regardless of the specific outcome of the upcoming regulatory negotiations, and the influence that the comment period may have on the law, it is expected that restaurants and other food retailing establishments covered by the regulation will have to provide this type of information in some way, shape or form at all of their retail locations by May of 2018.
So far, the IFR does not appear to have any impact on the California Menu Labeling regulation, which went into effect on December 1st, 2016 with an enforcement date of May 1st, 2017.
Abierto will continue to update this blog as new developments transpire, download our FDA Menu Labeling webinar from last summer in the meantime.