Following the FDA’s decision in 2014 regarding the compulsory display of calorie counts, food industry groups manage to push the implementation deadline for an extra year.
The FDA’s ruling targets all restaurants, movie theatres and grocery stores to display calorie counts compulsory on their food menus. The move is intended to fight the obesity epidemics in the U.S. and take into account that more than one third of a person’s daily calorie count is not eaten at home.
While the initial FDA decision seemed to address all issues regarding the compulsory calorie count, food industry groups and the U.S. Congress have been pressuring the FDA to extended the deadline for implementation.
The argument was that the regulation package is not sufficiently clear and more time is needed to understand and cope with the required changes. The FDA caved in to food industry groups and the U.S. Congress lobby and extended the implementation deadline until December 2016.
The Administration’s Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine stated that:
“Additional time is necessary for the agency to provide further clarifying guidance to help facilitate efficient compliance across all covered businesses”.
The decision to extend the initial December 2015 deadline until December 2016 is a result of U.S. Congress pressuring the agency is May for this purpose. A number of 32 senators wrote to the FDA officials to ask for the extension.
Their arguments pointed at the fact that those responsible for the implementation of compulsory calorie counts on food menus are still in the dark regarding which specific foods fall under the compulsory labeling.
For instance grocery stores are struggling with implementation. One example regards foods intended for consumption by more than one person. Thus, while sliced fruit could be labeled accordingly with its specific calorie count in the salad bar, not the same holds for a large pack containing the same fruit.
Pizza retailers, such as Domino’s Pizza argued that the majority of pizza orders are taken either by phone or online, which makes the calorie count difficult to communicate to the customers.
The FDA is preparing more guidelines to aid rapid implementation. Meanwhile, the decision targets foods that are prepared in grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, movie theaters, pizzerias, amusement parks or coffee shops.
The compulsory calorie count should be displayed on food menus in extremely visible spots and should advise that while a healthy diet consists of a 2,000 daily calories intake, the amount varies greatly from person to person.
Other information, such as sodium percentage in the said food should be available upon request.
Image Source: restaurantepizzariaparaty.com
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