ARLINGTON, VA – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin issued the following statement concerning the City of New York’s notice that the Departments of Health and Consumer Affairs will begin enforcing the updated calorie labeling rules by educating businesses during regular inspections in New York City:
“The Food Marketing Institute, on behalf of its members, expresses its surprise by and frustration with the City of New York’s announcement yesterday at 5p.m. that City officials will begin targeting grocers and other food retailers on Monday, May 22 for ‘menu labeling’ compliance. The announcement violates both the compliance date and the preemption provisions of the federal ‘menu labeling’ statute and regulations, which have been formally postponed and are undergoing review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until May 2018 due to substantive regulatory and enforcement concerns. These significant concerns get amplified by the City’s unexpected action, which did not include any prior or formal notification to food retailers and provides only a single business days’ notice prior to enforcement; a situation exacerbated by a lack of training materials, oversight procedures, and discussions to resolve problems.
“The supermarket industry for several years has sought common sense flexibility, such as liability protections for good-faith compliance efforts, allowing the use of a central menu board for a salad bar, and creating a regulatory environment that preserves the opportunity for selling locally-made and locally-sourced foods. These are sensible modifications that can easily be incorporated, and that will allow grocery stores to provide information to customers in a more efficient and accurate, less costly manner. We ask for FDA, city officials, and other entities to begin to employ a thoughtful, constructive approach to resolve some of the tremendous challenges associated with application of chain restaurant style ‘menu labeling’ in a grocery store environment.”