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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pushed back the deadline to implement new menu labeling requirements by one year on Thursday. Restaurants, convenience stores and other qualifying establishments now have until Dec. 1, 2016, to comply with federal menu labeling rules, reported the Associated Press.
The FDA extended the deadline after restaurants and other retailers stated they needed more time to put the new rules into place. The ongoing process includes training workers, installing menus and menu boards, and developing software for more efficient and specific calorie label displays.
The upcoming rules require caloric information to be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants, similar retail food establishments and vending machines with 20 or more locations to provide consumers with more nutritional information about the foods they eat outside the home.
Multiple food retail industry organizations applauded the deadline extension, including the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
"We're encouraged that FDA's commitment will give us more time to at least garner some clarity and answers without feeling rushed to make difficult business decisions in an attempt to comply by Dec. 1, 2015, with regulations that are unclear," stated FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin.
FMI will continue to work with both the FDA and Congress to address business challenges with the implementation of restaurant menu labeling in grocery stores, Sarasin added. She also stated that H.R. 2017, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015, is still among critical pieces of legislation for the food retail industry.
The National Grocery Association (NGA) also approved of the new later deadline.
"Independent supermarket operators work hard each and every day to build and maintain their consumers' trust by providing information and transparency on the food products they serve," stated NGA Vice President of Public Affairs Greg Ferrara. "While NGA appreciates the FDA recognizing the need for a delay, there still are concerns surrounding implementation of the law.
"We will continue to work with our champions in Congress, Reps. McMorris, Rodgers and Sanchez, to pass H.R. 2017, which reduces the burdens of this regulation and provides the necessary reforms and flexibility to our members," added Ferrara.