The FDA’s Menu Labeling Rule will become enforceable on May 7, 2018.
The FDA’s Menu Labeling Rule
sets standards for the menus of food establishments with 20 or more locations or a franchisee part of a chain with 20 or more locations. In general, a restaurant must list the number of calories for each “standard” menu item next to the item on the menu or menu board, as well as keep additional nutrient facts on hand for any customer request.
To help with compliance the FDA has released guidance for restaurants, located here
What you need to know:
If you fall under the rule (20 or more locations or part of a chain with 20 or more locations) you will need to provide the following information:
- The number of calories contained in a standard menu item listed on a menu or menu board
- The number of calories contained in a standard menu item that is a self-serve food or food on display on a sign adjacent to the corresponding item
- Additional written nutrition information upon consumer request ( see paragraphs 5.56 – 5.75 of the guidance)
What is exempt from this rule?
- Temporary menu items (see paragraph 3.20 of the guidance)
- Condiments that are for general use (see paragraph 5.2 of the guidance)
- Daily specials (see paragraph 3.12 of the guidance)
- Custom orders by customers (see paragraph 3.11 of the guidance)
- Food for a market test – less than 90 days on the menu (see paragraph 3.15 of the guidance)
However, if you choose to provide nutrition content on the exempt items you will need to follow the standards outlined in paragraph 4.3 of the guidance.
What information do you need to provide on your menus?
- The number of calories in each listed standard menu item
- The following statement: “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.” (see paragraph 5.14 for the guidance)
- The following statement: “Additional nutrition information available upon request.”
How do I determine the calorie and nutrient values for my menu items?
The FDA guidance provides several different ways to determine this information (see paragraphs 6.1 – 6.25 of the guidance), including:
- Using the USDA’s National Nutrient Database
- Using the values listed in a cookbook
- Using a laboratory analysis of your menu items
- Using the Nutrition Facts on the labels of packaged foods that comply with federal standards
- Using the FDA’s nutrient values for raw fruits and vegetables
- Using the FDA’s nutrient values for cooked fish
to read the FDA’s
“A Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments Selling Away from-Home Foods – Part II (Menu Labeling Requirements in Accordance with 21 CFR 101.11): Guidance for Industry”