The Food and Drug Administration has missed yet another self-imposed deadline to get out final rules on the menu calorie-labeling requirement under Obamacare.
The agency had told members of the food retail industry it should expect final guidelines in February, and the topic appeared to be on the Office of Management and Budget’s agenda for this month. But the rules are nowhere close to the finish line, and the FDA is now declining interview requests about the calorie-labeling rules altogether.
“We are currently reviewing comments submitted in response to the proposed rules and hope to issue final regulations by the end of the year,” said FDA spokeswoman Theresa Eisenman in an email.
The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, requires food establishments to post calories on menus and drive-through signs, in an effort to make consumers more aware of the nutrition information in the food they eat.
Which food retailers are subject to the law, however, has become a heated debate that FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has previously called “the most complicated” part of writing the final rules.
“There are very, very strong opinions and powerful voices both on the consumer and public health side and on the industry side, and we have worked very hard to sort of figure out what really makes sense and also what is implementable,” Hamburg said in an interview with the Associated Press a year ago.
The FDA issued proposed rules in April 2011. More than 900 comments were submitted to the agency, which has held meetings with key stakeholders about how the requirement would impact food chains, mom-and-pop diners, and even supermarkets selling prepared deli items.
Nearly three years — and multiple, self-imposed deadlines — have passed since the FDA issued the proposed guidelines. The FDA had planned to issue final rules at the end of 2011, with businesses expected to begin complying in 2012. In March 2013, Hamburg told the Associated Press the agency was in the final stages of writing the regulations, with a tentative plan to issue them that spring. Spring came and went with no rules, and they were next expected to be released in September 2013. Still without rules, Hamburg said at an event in November that they would be released “soon.”
Some restaurants have started putting up calories voluntarily. Others are required to by local ordinances, such as the one in New York City, where restaurants and coffee shops have been posting calorie counts since mid-2008. But until the FDA gets its guidelines out the door, consumers across the country will continue to wait to see nutritional information posted in all places where they buy and eat meals.
What We're Following See More »
U.S. District Judge William Orrick Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing part of an executive order calling for the end of federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. The decision was followed by a scathing rebuke from the White House, a precedent-breaking activity which with this White House has had no qualms. A White House statement called the decision an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge." The statement was followed by an inaccurate Wednesday morning tweetstorm from Trump, which railed against the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. While Judge Orrick district falls within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, Orrick himself does not serve on the Ninth Circuit.
"House Republicans are circulating the text of an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill that they believe could bring many conservatives on board. According to legislative text of the amendment," drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), "the measure would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives argue the provision drives up premiums for healthy people, but Democrats—and many more moderate Republicans—warn it would spark a return to the days when insurance companies could charge sick people exorbitantly high premiums."
President Trump on Wednesday "will order a review of national monuments created over the past 20 years with an aim toward rescinding or resizing some of them—part of a broader push to reopen areas to drilling, mining, and other development." Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters on Tuesday said he'd be reviewing about 30 monuments.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.