The can-kicking is now slated to stop on May 2018.
Nearly three years have passed since we first proclaimed "Get Ready to Know Just How Many Calories Are In That Burger You Ordered." At the time, the FDA had just finalized guidelines intended to fulfill a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires chain restaurants nationwide to post calories counts for items on their menus. In the interim, waiting for compliance to actually take effect has been akin to waiting for George R. R. Martin to release the next installment in The Song of Ice and Fire book series.
The proverbial can has been kicked down the road multiple times by both the Obama and the Trump administrations. New York City even finally got so fed up, it tried enforcing the rules itself, which was also deemed unsatisfactory. But due to a recent lawsuit, the FDA has finally agreed on a new compliance date—though whether it will actually stick is anybody's guess.
Discontent up with the most recent postponement, which happened in May of this year just one day before the new regulations were supposed to take effect, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the National Consumers League (NCL) sued the FDA.
According to Consumerist, the additional legal incentive finally led to the parties to come to an agreement: A U.S. district court judge approved a joint motion for stay on any legal action until May 7, 2018, effectively setting that date as the new deadline for the FDA to begin enforcing calorie count rules or else the lawsuit will resume.
"As frustrating as this process has been, we're glad that the end of the long campaign for menu labeling is now in sight," Sally Greenberg, executive director for NCL, said of the deal.
Of course, all of this becomes a moot point if the legislation behind the calorie count rules change, and that's also a possibility. For instance, a bill called the "Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act" has already been introduced in Congress earlier this year seeking to weaken some of the rules. Already years in the making, don't count on this fight being over until the calories counts are actually on menus.