retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last Friday released a "final guidance" document related to menu labeling, saying that the same standards applied to chain restaurants should apply to grocery stores, essentially not drawing any distinctions between a McDonald's and the deli counter or salad bar at a supermarket.

Enforcement will begin in May 2017.

Food Marketing Institute (FMI) CEO Leslie Sarasin released a statement decrying the FDA move:

"“The guidance is largely a reprint of the draft guidance the agency released in September 2015 and did not incorporate the critical flexibility requested by the supermarket industry to make chain restaurant menu labeling regulations more practical in a grocery store setting for key areas, including signage at the salad bar or hot foods bar.

“While we are pleased to have any type of guidance to assist with our challenging efforts to comply with a rule and a structure written for chain restaurants – as opposed to one that contemplates the operations of supermarkets with large and varied produce departments evolving to salad bars or seafood departments evolving to hot foods bars – the supermarket industry still seeks flexibility from FDA. Specifically, food retailers wish to preserve their opportunity to sell locally produced foods that are sold at only one or two locations as well as their ability to use one sign/menu/menu board in a prepared foods area or next to a salad bar."

Having not gotten that flexibility, FMI - and other trade associations - will push for legislative redress.
KC's View: