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Joint comments to FDA in support of guidance for food retailers on mandatory calorie labeling

We respectfully submit the following comments on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed Menu Labeling: Supplemental Guidance for Industry, which pertains to the agency’s requirements for chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments to post nutrition information. Menu labeling is an important tool that allows consumers eating out to make informed choices for a growing—and often problematic—part of their diets, and we support the Guidance overall.

Given that the delay in the compliance deadline occurred with a single day’s notice, many covered food establishments had already complied with the regulations in anticipation of the previous implementation date of May 5, 2017 (81 FR 96364). Indeed, the vast majority of the top restaurant, supermarket, and convenience store chains already are labeling calories, showing that posting calories as currently required is feasible. A recent scan of the top 50 restaurant chains (by revenue according to Nation’s Restaurant News) found that all 50 had calorie information either online (e.g., posted per menu item, provided in PDF or other format, or via an online nutrition calculator) or in the restaurant.1 We encourage the FDA to finalize the guidance as soon as possible to facilitate implementation by May 7, 2018 (82 FR 20825).

The issues raised in the Draft Guidance largely reinforce clarifications that have already been made through the final regulations, previous guidance, and technical assistance. We do, however, suggest a few modifications to the Guidance.

For the full comments, click here.