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Restaurants get reprieve on menu labeling

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The menu labeling requirements set to take effect on chain restaurants Friday have been pushed back by a year and may be changed to cut compliance costs and provide more flexibility, the Food and Drug Administration said Monday afternoon.

The agency added that it will accept input for a 60-day period on simplifying the regulatory burden of the rules, including how calorie information can be provided to consumers and what has to be disclosed on promotional materials.

It is also inviting comment on how nutritional data for self-serve formats like buffets should be provided.

The move, hinted at last week, is the latest effort by the Trump administration to ease regulations on business. But the National Restaurant Association has said its members prefer the rules be implemented as planned, since a single set of federal regulations would be preferable to a patchwork of state and local mandates.

“The National Restaurant Association is concerned with the impact of the delay in the implementation of the federal menu labeling law just days before the scheduled effective date," Cicely Simpson, the association's EVP of government affairs and policy, said in a statement. "This delay upends plans that have been in motion for years throughout the food industry. We will continue to strongly advocate on behalf of what is best for small businesses and American consumers.” 

The precise compliance date set by the FDA is May 7, 2018.

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