NACS Concerned Over Continued Lack Of Menu-Labeling Guidance

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NACS, the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, said last week that a revised draft of menu-labeling guidelines has done little to address the “one-size-fits-none” rule.

​Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its revised draft, signaling that the government is moving forward with the Obama administration’s menu-labeling rule.

Menu-labeling regulation initially was passed by Congress as part of the Affordable Care Act but was delayed multiple times during the Obama administration. The Trump administration delayed it again shortly before it was set to take effect in May of this year. The current compliance date is May 7, 2018.

Lyle Beckwith, SVP of government relations at NACS, said that the FDA’s revised guidelines “do nothing to pull down the barriers to compliance that have retailers facing extraordinary costs, uncertain enforcement and frivolous lawsuits.”

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Beckwith noted that earlier this week the FDA admitted during a conference call with stakeholders that “only Congress can now address the wide range of egregious problems inadequately clarified or addressed in the regulation which include private causes of actions.”

“The failure of the FDA’s latest menu-labeling ‘guidance’ to address the concerns of NACS and others has left even the agency confirming that Congress must step in to fix its ‘one-size-fits-none’ mess,” he said.

According to NACS, other areas where the guidance fell short of answering retailer questions include:

  • Self-serve items requiring multiple menus;
  • Impractical salad or hot food bar disclosures;
  • When marketing materials constitute “menus”;
  • Electronic disclosure for delivery restaurants;
  • Multi-person or family-style menu items;
  • Natural variation in calorie counts; and
  • Which businesses are actually subject to the regulation.

“In short, our conclusion in the wake of the FDA’s effort at ‘guidance’ is the same as before: Compliance with these rules will be unduly burdensome for all our members,” said Beckwith. “We would urge Congress to take up the FDA’s invitation to advance the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017, which is bipartisan legislation designed to give small businesses the flexibility they need to comply with the menu-labeling rules and meet the goal we all share: providing consumers clear and useful nutrition information.”

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About The Author

A veteran 20-year editor of The Griffin Report who often tours various supermarkets to check out the latest trends. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys sports, his family and young, energetic grandchild.