FDA peeves calorie-counters

2015-07-09 22:32
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Washington - Diners in the United States will have to wait until the end of 2016 to find calorie labels on all chain restaurant menus.

The Food and Drug Administration, a government public health agency, said on Thursday that restaurants and other establishments will now have until December 1 2016, to comply with federal menu labelling rules - one year beyond the original deadline.

FDA said it is extending the deadline after restaurants and other retailers said they needed more time to put the rules in place. The agency said those businesses are in the process of training workers, installing menus and menu boards and developing software and technology for more efficient and specific calorie label displays.

The rules will require restaurants and other establishments that sell prepared foods and have 20 or more locations to post the calorie content of food "clearly and conspicuously" on their menus, menu boards and displays. That includes prepared foods at grocery and convenience stores and in movie theatres, bakeries, coffee shops, pizza delivery stores and amusement parks.

The menus and displays will tell diners that a 2 000-calorie diet is used as the basis for daily nutrition, noting that individual calorie needs may vary. Additional nutritional information beyond calories, including sodium, fat and sugar must be available upon request.

The Obama administration has said menu labelling is just one way to combat obesity, since Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, a long time menu labelling advocate, criticised the FDA's further delay. She said restaurants and retailers have had enough time.

"Industry is doing everything they can to stonewall implementation of this important public health tool," she said. "We need to make sure consumers have nutrition information available to them when making purchasing decisions."


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