Foodservice Equipment Reports

FDA Adds An Extra Year Before Menu Labeling Rule Kicks In

Diners will have to wait until the end of 2016 to find calorie labels on all chain restaurant menus.

The Food and Drug Administration announced earlier this month that restaurants and other establishments will now have until December 1, 2016, to comply with federal menu labeling rules. That’s a full year beyond the original deadline.

FDA made the decision after restaurants and other retailers said they needed more time to put the rules in place. The agency said those businesses are in the process of training workers, installing menus and menu boards, and developing software and technology for more efficient and specific calorie label displays.

The rules will require restaurants and other establishments that sell prepared foods (including grocery and convenience stores, movie theaters, bakeries, coffee shops, pizza delivery stores and amusement parks), and have 20 or more locations to post the calorie content of food “clearly and conspicuously” on their menus, menu boards and displays.

Some of the rules are complicated, such as in grocery stores, where the labeling rules exclude prepared foods that are typically intended for more than one person. That could mean cut fruit or other foods would be labeled in a salad bar, but not in a larger container for sale.

Michael Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, said the agency will issue more detailed guidance later this summer to address questions.