New Guidance on FDA Menu Labeling Rules
After several postponements, the FDA will finally begin implementing its Menu Labeling Final Rule on May 7. The rule will require restaurants and similar retail food establishments to make certain nutrition information available to their customers on menu boards and in written statements. Importantly, the rule will apply to businesses even if they are small individually owned single-units so long as they are part of a franchise system with twenty or more locations. On Nov. 10, 2017, the FDA published additional, non-binding draft guidance designed to address questions and concerns raised about the rule. The guidance clarifies, among other things, the criteria for determining whether a franchise location is a covered establishment, the distinction between menus and marketing materials and required information for menu boards and written statements. The long-awaited menu labeling rules have been a topic of discussion for several years and the industry should expect that implementation will likely go forwarded as announced later this year.