FDA Draft Guidance on Menu Labeling Leaves Questions Unanswered

Stephanie Barnes, Regulatory Counsel [email protected]
In mid-September, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released "Draft Guidance for Industry" on the agency's chain restaurant menu labeling regulation, which was published in the Federal Register in December 2014. Since January, FMI and our members have urged FDA to clarify many of the provisions within the regulation and throughout the proposed rulemaking period to help the industry better understand how a rule designed for chain restaurants will apply to a dynamic supermarket environment. Our primary goal is to help the industry offer safe, quality food and to provide our customers with useful information as it pertains to their food, and while we appreciate FDA's attempts to clarify some of the issues that we have raised with the final rule, the agency's draft guidance still leaves many unanswered questions.

The 53-page draft guidance does not address all of the specific scenarios raised by the industry; however, we hope the guidance document serves as the beginning of a more detailed dialogue with the agency as food retailers work to tackle many of the remaining challenges and uncertainties associated with the menu labeling regulation before the December 1, 2016, compliance date. With the amount of work to be done, it is imperative that we get appropriate answers or legislative clarification as soon as possible.