On July 9, 2015, the United States Food and Drug Administration extended the deadline for compliance with a new rule governing calorie information on menus for one year, to December 2016.  The proposed rule, first issued in April 2011, and finalized and published in November 2014, was promulgated in furtherance of Section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act, and would require  “covered establishments” to list caloric information on menus, as well as provide other nutritional information. 

Potentially impacted establishments include fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, coffee shops and some entertainment venues (movie theaters, etc.).  Given the broad scope of the rule and disagreement regarding what constitutes a “covered establishment,” numerous stakeholders struggled with forecasting the costs for compliance, as well as with determining categories of exemption from the rule’s governance.

The FDA originally set a deadline for compliance of December 2015, but after receiving extensive comments and multiple requests to delay the compliance date, the FDA agreed to extend the deadline for one year.  Among the entities which specifically sought an extension of the compliance deadline were the Food Marketing Institute, American Beverage Association and National Association of Theater Owners.

With the additional time provided for compliance, the FDA plans to further clarify its guidance in an effort to assist in ensuring compliance by affected businesses.

Documentation related to the rule can be found at http://federal.elaws.us/rulemaking/docket/fda-2011-f-0172