May 12, 2015 – ARLINGTON, VA – Today, Senate Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chair, Roy Blunt (R-MO) sent a bipartisan letter – in conjunction with Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Angus King (I-ME) – to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell asking for clarity and adequate time regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s chain restaurant menu labeling rule. FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin issued the following statement lauding the Senate action:

"More than six months after the FDA final rule on Chain Restaurant Menu Labeling was released, which included most supermarket in-store prepared items in the definition of "restaurant-type" foods, thereby requiring a labeling plan, FDA has yet to publish critical guidance that would give food retailers certainty on dozens of implementation questions.

"Senator Blunt has been a longtime champion of this issue, raising his own concerns and those of his Missouri grocery stores in congressional hearings and in briefings with FDA and even authoring legislation in the 113th Congress. Sen. Blunt was also critical in working with other Senators to secure language within the FY15 CR-Omnibus Appropriations Managers’ Statement for FDA to provide stakeholder guidance for the menu labeling regulations by March 1, 2015, which is now more than two months overdue from the agency.

"We appreciate Sen. Blunt’s leadership and recognition that FDA must make some changes if the Agency wants to fit a round peg into a square hole, which is what applying chain restaurant menu labeling regulations to grocery stores is like, by at least giving clear guidance and reasonable implementation time."