FDA Removes Menu Labeling Guidance For Restaurants; Vending Calorie Disclosure Rules To Be Released March 23, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has removed the menu labeling guidance to chain restaurants. This guidance withdrawal did not impact vending. 

In the Federal Register of Jan. 25, 2011 (76 FR 4360), FDA announced the withdrawal of this draft guidance and its intention to complete the notice-and-comment rulemaking process for section 4205 before initiating enforcement activities based, in part, on extensive comments on the draft guidance submitted to the agency.

Ned Monroe, senior government affairs director at the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), said in conversations with the FDA staff last week, they reconfirmed that no guidance will be issued for vending. Vending calorie disclosure rules will be released by March 23, 2011.

Monroe said final rules won't be put into place in 2011, so vending is unlikely to have any enforcement of calorie disclosure before the middle of 2012.

This morning the Federal Register printed information from the FDA to public comments about the economic impact of menu labeling and calorie disclosure. The following is a link: edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/2011-1993.htm.

This includes the FDA responses to the public's most recent written comments. NAMA's comments to the FDA are attached.

Comments to the Federal Register notice are due by March 2, 2011. Following this, the next opportunity to comment will be in late March when the FDA releases its vending rules.

Editor's Insight: The comments in the Federal Register, which are posted here, indicate the FDA is listening to comments from vending operators on the calorie disclosure burden.

Operators need to continue to submit their concerns.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) has done an excellent job making the government aware of the industry's concerns. All refreshment service operators should support NAMA. 02-01-11 Elliot Maras