Delays to the enforcement of menu labelling in the USA are a reflection of the many difficulties and pitfalls in implementing a well-intentioned but ultimately flawed policy, according the Chief Executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers.
In January Congress in America substantially extended the time line for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s enforcement of the agency’s new rules on standard restaurant menu labelling, presently there is no date certain as to when compliance will be required.
The FDA announced last year that it would give chain restaurants until December 1, 2016, to comply with its final regulation requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts for the foods they sell. Chain restaurants, grocery stores that sell prepared foods, and other covered businesses with 20 or more locations are covered by the new administrative rule.
As a result of public concerns, the agency also issued a draft guidance document in September of 2015 that address some of the most common questions businesses have posed about the new rule. However, implementation has been pushed back yet again.
Kate Nicholls of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers said: “Passed in 2010, the rules require companies with more than 20 outlets serving prepared food to include calorie labelling on their menus, boards and displays. After a long wait for the actual rules to emerge, and two delays in implementation, a third deadline has been imposed.
“This is a clear demonstration of the difficulties in implementing calorie labelling in a manner that is both fair to retailers and true to the intent of the law. Whilst well-meaning, the policy is ultimately flawed and looks to be unworkable in any equitable manner.”