Menu Labeling a 'Thorny' Issue

FDA struggling to decide who should be covered by law

Published in CSP Daily News

WASHINGTON -- Diners will have to wait a little longer to find calorie counts on most restaurant chain menus, in supermarkets and convenience stores, and on vending machines.

Writing a new menu labeling law "has gotten extremely thorny," said the head of the Food and Drug Administration, as the agency tries to figure out who should be covered by it, according to an Associated Press report.

The 2010 health-care law charged the FDA with requiring restaurants and other establishments that serve food to put calorie counts on menus and in vending machines. The agency issued a proposed rule in 2011, but the final rules have since been delayed as some of those non-restaurant establishments have lobbied hard to be exempt.

While the restaurant industry has signed on to the idea and helped to write the new regulations, supermarkets, convenience stores and other retailers that sell prepared food say they want to no part of it.

"There are very, very strong opinions and powerful voices both on the consumer and public health side and on the industry side, and we have worked very hard to sort of figure out what really makes sense and also what is implementable," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a recent interview with AP.

Click here to read the complete AP report.