It never stops, but at last there is a suggestion that the saga of long delays in menu labeling may possibly be coming to an end. Scott Gottlieb, the new FDA Commissioner, announced:
We recognize our obligation to provide clear guidance so that restaurants and other establishments that are subject to these provisions have clarity and certainty as to how they can efficiently meet the new menu labeling requirements…We have issued detailed regulations addressing what information should be provided in menus at restaurant chains and other similar retail establishments, as well as when and how that information should be provided….I am pleased to announce that we will provide additional, practical guidance on the menu labeling requirements by the end of this year…These new policy steps should allow covered establishments to implement the requirements by next year’s compliance date.
Although Gottlieb does not say so directly, this could mean that the FDA intends to put national menu labeling into effect in May 2018—the current, long-delayed deadline.
If this is what he is saying, it must mean that the big food chains—most of which already have menu labeling in place—are tired of the endless delays and just want the playing field leveled once and for all.
Note: For a brief but useful summary of the legal battles, see Dan Flynn’s analysis in Food Safety News.