May 8, 2018 |

FDA Menu Labeling Requirements Now In Effect

By Denise Greer

Restaurants with 20+ units required to post calories on menus

After a decade, menu labeling requirements has been enacted. “Consumers walking into eating establishments covered under the rule will know how many calories are in the foods they may want to order,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in an official statement Monday. “This includes establishments that are chains with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name that offer substantially the same menu items consisting of restaurant-type foods. Consumers can also ask these establishments for additional nutritional information — provided, for example, as a booklet, handout or in electronic form — that includes the amount of sodium, fiber, sugars, total carbohydrates, saturated fat and protein for any standard menu item. This is information Americans want or need in order to make decisions about the foods they eat so they can make more informed choices about their diets and health for themselves and their families.”

According to Gottlieb, many restaurants have already begun compliance. As many other establishments work to implement the new rules, Gottlieb said in his statement, “We plan to work collaboratively with covered establishments to help them meet the requirements so that more consumers will be able to access and use nutritional information that will now be at their fingertips or in front of them on a menu board. For the first year, we’ll center our efforts on helping covered establishments come into compliance with the law. We’ll focus on educational outreach to provide parties with help on how they can efficiently comply with the new provisions. The FDA will allow covered entities a reasonable opportunity to make adjustments to bring themselves into compliance.”

One of the most useful resources to understand the menu labeling rules and how it may impact your business is the the FDA’s Industry Questions and Answers on the Menu Labeling Requirements.

Here are a few excerpts from the Q&A:

How do I know if my business is covered by the final rule?

To be covered by the final rule, an establishment must meet certain criteria. First, the establishment must be a restaurant or similar retail food establishment, as defined in the rule. Next, the establishment must: (1) be part of a chain of 20 or more locations, (2) doing business under the same name, and (3) offering for sale substantially the same menu items…..

What exactly will be required by my food establishment?

Covered restaurants and similar retail food establishments are now required: (1) to disclose calorie information on menus and menu boards for standard menu items; (2) post a succinct statement (see below) concerning suggested daily caloric intake on menus and menu boards; and (3) post on menus and menu boards a statement that written nutrition information is available upon request…

Can restaurants or similar retail food establishments not covered under the requirements voluntarily choose to be covered?

Yes. Restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are not covered under the requirements (for example, those with fewer than 20 locations) can voluntarily register with FDA to comply with the new requirements…

See the full list of Industry Questions and Answers on the Menu Labeling Requirements.

For more on Menu Labeling Requirements, visit the FDA.






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