The legal arm of the National Restaurant Association has filed a lawsuit seeking to block New York City from enforcing menu labeling requirements while a federal hold on disclosure rules remains in effect until next May.
The move has implications that extend far beyond New York City. The industry fears that other jurisdictions might follow New York City’s lead and begin enforcing the rules themselves, leaving restaurant chains with a patchwork of requirements and potential penalties from coast to coast.
The NRA’s Restaurant Law Center argues in the action that menu labeling is under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration, which has put enforcement of rules contained in the Affordable Care Act on hold until next year.
“Federal preemption for menu labeling is the law of the land. New York City is overstepping its legal authority in its attempt to enforce menu labeling ahead of the federal compliance date of May 7, 2018,” Angelo Amador, executive director of the Restaurant Law Center, said in a statement. “ We expect our preliminary injunction request will be granted to this clear violation of federal law.”
The lawsuit was filed jointly by the RLC, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the Food Marketing Institute and the New York Association of Convenience Stores.
It asks the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to stop New York City from enforcing calorie and nutrient disclosure requirements until May 7. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for enforcement of the rules to start on Aug. 21.