Fight Rages on Over Menu Labeling in Restaurants

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Thank you for speaking up on the importance of menu labeling!

Salud America! supporters submitted 12% of the comments FDA received regarding their one-year delay of menu labeling (332 of 2,714 online comments). We also reached more than 6 million people online and on social media with menu labeling messages.

calorie menu countThese actions show that many people want to make it easy for Latino and all families to make healthier decisions about the foods they eat outside the home.

Now, what will FDA do?

The fight up to now

Months ago, the FDA announced a one-year delay for food companies to adopt changes to menu labeling of foods in restaurants and other eateries.

Industry stakeholders welcomed the extension amid concerns over their ability to meet the compliance deadline of July 2018, while the consumer lobby group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has stressed that the delay is not needed and is harmful to consumers, according to a report by foodingredientsfirst.com.

FDA sought public comments on the delay from June to Aug. 3, 2017.

CSPI and others, like the followers of Salud America!, spoke up to urge the FDA to immediately implement menu labeling rules.

CSPI and 50 other organizations also submitted a letter and hand-delivered 25,000 more comments opposing the delay to members of the U.S. Senate on Aug. 1, 2017.

What’s happened now?

Since the end of the FDA’s public comment period on Aug. 3, 2017, the debate over the menu labeling delay has continued.

family looking at menu at restaurant outdoorsThe National Grocers Association, National Restaurant Association, Food Marketing Institute and other industry groups are asking the FDA to revise the rule to provide the industry greater flexibility, according to an Aug. 10 report by Inside Health Policy.

“Suggested tweaks include delaying the enforcement of the rule by a year, further clarity on what types of establishments are covered and carve outs for promotional items,” according to the report.

But public health groups like CSPI are continuing to fight the delay.

CSPI issued a statement that the delay harms—in addition to consumers—restaurants and store chains that had labeling plans ready to go.

“A recent survey of the top 50 restaurant chains in 2016 found that all 50 had calorie information either online or in the restaurant,” CSPI wrote in citing a survey in a restaurant trade publication, according to AJMC.com.

In the latest action, the FDA has filed legal papers seeking to block New York City from going rogue and enforcing new national calorie labeling requirements in restaurants, convenience and grocery stores before they say so, the New York Post reports.

“In doing so, the US Food and Drug Administration is siding with the food service industry, which filed a federal lawsuit claiming the city can’t jump the gun and enforce the rules nine months before the FDA’s own deadline for eateries to comply,” according to the Post, which indicates that oral arguments in the case will begin Aug. 16.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett expressed disappointment with the FDA’s actions, the Post reports.

“Though chain restaurants in New York City have been providing this information for nearly 10 years, and federal disclosure requirements have been in effect since 2010, the FDA has taken the position that chains can stop providing customers with critical nutrition information,” she told the Post.

By The Numbers By The Numbers

40

PERCENT

OF LATINO CHILDREN ARE OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE (COMPARED TO 32% OF ALL U.S. CHILDREN)

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