Want Menu Labeling? Well, Wait for It...

Mar 28, 2011
Megan Bedard is a sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, she likes writing about food almost as much as eating it.
When it comes to fast food dining, ignorance is appetizing. (Ed Yourdon/Creative Commons)

After all the hemming and hawwing that followed the Food and Drug Administration's announcement of mandatory menu labeling, restaurant chains can breath a small sigh of relief. For a little while, at least, they won't be forced to comply.

So what's the hold up?

The FDA says enforcement of the law is, well, kinda hard.

The mandate, which was part of last year's health care reform bill, requires that any franchise with more than 20 locations post the calorie count of each menu item in the same font and size as the item is listed.

“We expect only a short delay in getting these documents out, and it is a reflection of the complexity of this issue, but most important an indication that the FDA is willing to work with all interested parties to ensure the best policy is presented,” the FDA said in a statement after missing its March 23 deadline to announce regulations.

Or, read between the lines: Restaurants are still pushing back.

While some restaurants have voluntarily labeled their menus in advance of FDA enforcement (see the McDonald's menu above), many more have not made the change.

Funny, it's easy enough to redesign menus when fast-food joints want to hawk their latest heart attack in a sack...

As Jason Best of Slashfood puts it: "It doesn't seem like rocket science."

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