FDA delays menu nutrition labeling — sad news for us all

Menu nutrition labeling for restaurants and in-store foodservice operations is being delayed another year by the Food and Drug Administration. The new date to comply with a law requiring such labeling that was passed in 2010 is now Dec. 1, 2016.

My wonderful seafood dish at Da Nonna Rosa's in Brooklyn.
Restaurant meals like this will go another year without nutrition labeling, a loss for the American people.

The FDA basically caved to food industry pressure. Restaurant and supermarket lobbyists have been saying it would be too difficult to meet the deadline this year and the FDA bought it, even though major chains already have such information posted on their websites.

The food business has been trying, and succeeding, in delaying this for years. My opinion is that it hopes to delay until after the next presidential election, expecting that a Republican president and Republican-controlled Congress would likely scrap the requirement for menu nutrition labeling completely.

That would be a major loss for the American people. While most of the attention when it comes to labeling focuses on calorie counts and whether seeing those gets people to eat less (which it largely doesn’t, in studies I’ve seen) I think the much more important aspect of labeling will be to have available the salt and fat content of restaurant offerings and prepared foods in supermarkets. People today have no idea how much salt and fat they put into their bodies when eating such meals.

This site looks over nutrition information restaurants post of their sites and we write about it to guide you, check our eating out page to see. But forcing labeling on menus would do a lot more. I’ll be watching closely next year to see what happens with this important issue.


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