FDA Delays Publication of Menu Labeling Rules

Well, March 23, 2011, the statutory deadline for FDA to publish proposed rules on how to implement the nutrition labeling provisions of the Health Care Reform Act, has come and gone with no rules.  Nation’s Restaurant News reports that in a statement FDA said, ““We expect only a short delay in getting these documents out, and it is a reflection of the complexity of this issue, but most important an indication that the FDA is willing to work with all interested parties to ensure the best policy is presented,” the FDA said. “We are committed to helping the public get clear and simple information about the food they buy and using a common sense approach to implement this law.” Read the entire article at Restaurant News.

It will be important for the restaurant industry to review the eventual rule and provide comments to try to shape the final rule.  Contact us if you need help submitting comments or for information on how to tackle providing nutrition information on your menus.

It will be some time before we know whether nutrition information on menus and vending machines will help with America’s obesity problem.  Chances are slim that it will—food and diet are very personal topics and American’s eating habits are also affected by our busy lifestyles.  We expect our bodies to function on whatever we give them without the type of ‘preventive maintenance’ that we do on our cars. Of course, we get information about how to prevent breakdowns of our cars but most information about how to prevent ‘breakdown’ of our bodies with food is considered to be making prohibited claims.  What is the food industry to do?  My answer is: Watch the nutritional genomics literature and lobby congress to work with FDA on ways to discuss the findings with consumers.  Learn more about nutritional genomics here: Nutrigenomics.

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