WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration is temporarily relaxing its menu labeling regulations as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak spreading across the United States. As many foodservice outlets transition from in-store dining to takeout, the agency said it is offering flexibility.

“Because calorie information is required to be declared for standard menu items when a consumer makes a selection, establishments may have difficulty providing this information during a rapid transition to a takeout business practice,” the agency said in a notice announcing the change. “Additionally, some of these establishments may be experiencing temporary disruptions in the food supply chain, which may lead to different menus or substitutions that could affect the accuracy of the nutrition information.

“To provide flexibility to these chains covered by menu labeling requirements, FDA will not object if establishments do not meet menu labeling requirements during this public health emergency.”

The policy change will remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency, according to the FDA.