Restaurants, grocery stores and movie theaters will get an extra year to comply with U.S. rules requiring them to put calorie counts on food menus.
Bowing to requests from Congress and food industry groups, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it will give retailers until December 2016 to comply with the regulations. After completing the menu labeling rule in November 2014, the regulatory agency had set an original deadline of December 2015.
“Additional time is necessary for the agency to provide further clarifying guidance to help facilitate efficient compliance across all covered businesses,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a statement.
The move comes after Congress pressured the FDA in May to extend the compliance date. Thirty-two senators wrote the agency asking for the extension on behalf of companies that lawmakers said are confused about which foods will need calorie counts. The FDA plans to release additional guidance next month to help businesses better understand the rules, Taylor said.
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Some restaurants, including McDonald’s, had already prepared for the changes, while grocery stores have grappled with how to implement the rules. The pizza industry has argued it should be exempt because its customers typically order online or by phone, not in a store.