The FDA has announced that it will officially delay the compliance date for its Menu Labeling Rule (the “Rule”) to May 7, 2018, in order to consider how to further reduce the regulatory burden or increase flexibility while continuing to achieve regulatory objectives. Among other concerns, the FDA notes that retailers have raised concerns that the Rule lacks flexibility to permit the provision of meaningful nutrition information to consumers in innovative formats.

The Rule was passed in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. It requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations operating under the same brand to provide detailed nutrition information to consumers and to display calorie counts on menus, menu boards, self-service and display items. The FDA is seeking input on: (1) calorie disclosure signage for self-service foods, including buffets and grab-and-go foods; (2) methods for providing calorie disclosure information other than on the menu itself, including how different kinds of retailers might use different methods; and (3) criteria for distinguishing between menus and other information presented to the consumer.