INSIGHT: FDA Makes Three (Regulatory) Orders Helping Restaurants

Daniel Herling and Nicole Ozeron

The food industry has been upended by the recent Covid-19 pandemic—restaurants and bars are scrambling to adjust to a new way of life after governors across America issued statewide “stay at home” orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Food and Drug Administration has relaxed labeling standards during this emergency period, providing restaurants the opportunity to develop new cash flows while also providing the public what it needs—food. The relaxed menu labeling rules allow many food service outlets to transition from in-store dining to takeout and retail.

Restaurants are now only permitted to serve take-out or drive-thru orders, and some restaurants have transformed themselves into neighborhood markets, or bodegas, selling food items not labeled for retail. The FDA has recently issued three orders to assist struggling restaurants and bars during this time.

Of course, with new ventures come new risks. And while the FDA has relaxed restrictions, the devil is in the details. We anticipate that the next wave of lawsuits will likely involve claims of false advertising based on restaurants’ product labels (or lack thereof).

Therefore, it is important to consult with an attorney if your business is considering adapting its menus and/or offerings.

Click here to read more of this Bloomberg Law article by Daniel Herling and Nicole Ozeran.