City health officials agreed on Friday to hold off enforcing its expanded calorie labeling requirements until at least next spring.
In a legal settlement reached with a handful of trade groups, the city agreed to delay its expanded calorie count law until at least May 7, 2018 — the date that similar federal regulations are supposed to be enacted.
“We take the (Food and Drug Administration) at its word,” City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement.
“Should the FDA fail to live up to this commitment, this case remains before the court,” Bassett continued. “The City is prepared to defend its right, independent of FDA action, to enforce its requirements that give New Yorkers the information they need to make informed dietary decisions.”
Bassett said she was pleased that the FDA issued a statement Friday indicating that the long-delayed rules would finally be enacted in May.
The settlement resolves for the time being a lawsuit brought by the National Association of Convenience Stores and other groups seeking to block the Health Department’s move in 2015 to expand its calorie count rules to convenience stores, groceries and other food chains serving prepared or “restaurant-style” food.
The city took its action after the FDA delayed its own plans to implement similar rules nationwide three times.
In their lawsuit, the trade groups claimed the city was overstepping its authority.
“This settlement with New York City is a clear victory for common sense,” said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president, government affairs of the National Association of Convenience Stores. “States and cities cannot enforce menu-labeling rules until Food and Drug Administration rules are enforced.”
In legal papers filed earlier this month, the FDA sided with the trade groups and argued the city was usurping the federal agency’s authority.