FDA gives restaurants an extra year to put calories on menus - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FDA gives restaurants an extra year to put calories on menus

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By MAGGIE FOX, NBC News

(NBC News) - Restaurants will get an extra year to add calorie counts to their menus. The Food and Drug Administration says they'll have until December 2016 to list clear calorie information where customers can easily see it.

The new rules have been extremely controversial. Not only will chain restaurants have to list calories, but so will movie theaters that sell popcorn and even establishments with salad bars.

The FDA hopes people will see just how many calories they're about to take in, make wiser choices, and that fast-food chains and other retailers will revise their offerings to meet a new consumer demand for more healthful foods.

But the lobbying has been heavy and constant — and the FDA says it has heard the complaints.

"The FDA agrees additional time is necessary for the agency to provide further clarifying guidance to help facilitate efficient compliance across all covered businesses and for covered establishments to come into compliance with the final rule," the agency said in a statement.

"The FDA is extending the compliance date for the menu labeling rule to December 1, 2016, for those covered by the rule."

The agency will release detailed guidance in August. "There will be an opportunity for comment on the draft guidance and the FDA will review any comments received as quickly as possible," it said.

Only chains with 20 or more stores are covered, but "big box" stores that serve food — such as Target and Costco — will be included.

Pizza restaurants can list calories by the slice but have to say how many slices in a pizza. They can also list a range of calories to take into account different toppings that customers will ask for.

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