After years of compliance date delays, New York City and FDA appear to have agreed to begin enforcing rules that would require chain restaurants and other establishments to post certain calorie and nutrition information in their stores on May 7, 2018.
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On August 14, the federal government, through the Department of Justice (DOJ), filed a Statement of Interest in a lawsuit between a group of food industry trade associations and New York City regarding the city’s food chain menu labeling rule, which requires certain food establishments to post calorie information and other nutritional information. The lawsuit arose following NYC’s announcement in May that it would begin to enforce its own local menu labeling rule after FDA delayed the enforcement date of a similar federal menu labeling regulation for the third time. The trade associations sought an injunction to block NYC from enforcing its rule, and in its recent filing, the DOJ stated its agreement that the NYC rule should be barred on preemption grounds.
The current unsettled status of restaurant menu labeling rules may be headed toward some form of resolution. FDA first promulgated a final federal menu labeling rule in December 2014 requiring that calorie information be posted on menu labeling boards in covered food retailers.
On May 18, 2017, New York City announced plans to begin enforcing its updated local menu labeling rule, just weeks after FDA announced the postponement of the compliance date for a similar federal menu labeling rule, from May 2017 until next year. These two actions potentially raise novel and significant issues of federal preemption.
Continuing the pattern of delays in the implementation of a compliance date for the menu labeling final rule requirements (previously covered in our posts, FDA Delaying Enforcement (Again) for Menu Labeling Final Rule (March 2016) and LawFlash: FDA Issues Menu Labeling Final Guidance (May 2016)), FDA has issued an interim final rule (to be published on May 4, 2017) again extending the compliance date for menu labeling requirements by one year—from May 5, 2017 to May 7, 2018.
When the makers of Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee seafood products publicly announced their intended $1.51 billion merger in December 2014, no one could have foreseen the complications that followed.
In the last few years, food and beverage companies have been defending against a new trend of claims related not to the products they manufacture, but the packages in which the products are sold.
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On February 26, two cheese companies and one of their corporate officers, Michelle Myrter, pleaded guilty in federal court for selling “real parmesan and romano cheese” that contained high amounts of cellulose and other improper fillers.