FDA delays compliance date for menu calories labelling

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is extending the compliance date for the final rule requiring disclosure of certain nutrition information for standard menu items in certain restaurants and retail food establishments. The final rule appeared in the Federal Register of December 1, 2014 and it was supposed to enter in application on December 1, 2015: the date is delayed by one year, to December 1, 2016.

FDA is taking this action in response to requests for an extension and for further clarification of the rule’s requirements. One of the major problem stressed by the food business operators was the complexity of the software needed to grant this kind of information.

The FDA will publish further clarification, probably with the Q&A format.

It has to be noticed that in New York a similar rule is effective from 2008, and some major companies like Starbucks and McDonalds has yet implemented the calories indication on menus/boards.

Extensive case of mislabeling: Investigation alleges Whole Foods Overcharges

New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) said Wednesday 24 June that an ongoing investigation on Whole Foods Market stores has found systemic overcharging of its customers for pre-packaged food.

The investigation by the DCA tested 80 different types of pre-packaged food from the city’s Whole Foods locations (eight were open at the time of the investigation; a ninth has since opened). The inspection found all categories included products with incorrect weights, which led to overcharges that ranged from 80 cents for a package of pecan panko to $14.84 for coconut shrimp. The overcharges were especially prevalent in packages that had been labelled with exactly the same weight when it would be practically impossible for all of the packages to weigh the same amount. The investigation also examined vegetable platters, nuts, chicken tenders and berries.

The DCA added, in addition, that 89 percent of the tested packages were not in line with the federal standards for the maximum amount “that an individual package can deviate from the actual weight”.

Whole Foods said in a statement: “We disagree with the DCA’s overreaching allegations and we are vigorously defending ourselves. We cooperated fully with the DCA from the beginning until we disagreed with their grossly excessive monetary demands. Despite our requests to the DCA, they have not provided evidence to back up their demands nor have they requested any additional information from us, but instead have taken this to the media to coerce us.”

Both Whole Foods and DCA declined to discuss specific numbers, citing the fact that the investigation is ongoing.