FDA: Calories on menus, menu boards delayed until 2016

Calories On Menus
In this July 18, 2008 file photo, calories of each food item appear on a McDonalds drive-thru menu in New York. The Food and Drug Administration announced long-delayed calorie labeling rules Tuesday, requiring establishments that sell prepared foods and have 20 or more locations to post the calorie content of food "clearly and conspicuously" on their menus, menu boards and displays. (AP Photo/Ed Ou, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Diners will have to wait until the end of 2016 to find calorie labels on all chain restaurant menus.

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that restaurants and other establishments will now have until December 1, 2016, to comply with federal menu labeling rules — one year beyond the original deadline.

FDA says it’s extending the deadline after restaurants and other retailers said they needed more time to put the rules in place. The agency said those businesses are in the process of training workers, installing menus and menu boards and developing software for more efficient and specific calorie label displays.

The rules will require restaurants and other establishments that sell prepared foods and have 20 or more locations to post the calorie content of food “clearly and conspicuously” on their menus, menu boards and displays. That includes prepared foods at grocery and convenience stores and in movie theaters, among other locations.

The menus and displays will tell diners that a 2,000-calorie diet is used as the basis for daily nutrition, noting that individual calorie needs may vary. Additional nutritional information beyond calories, including sodium, fat and sugar must be available upon request.

The menu labels were required by Congress as part of the health overhaul in 2010. The FDA has said they are just one way to combat obesity, since Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home.

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