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Menu Nutritional Labeling Rule Date Set

The time for implementation is growing closer for the “Food Labeling: Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments,” as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The FDA’s rule requires nutrition labeling of standard menu items in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments.

According to the FDA, menu labeling will ensure consumers have more nutritional information when they make food choices. It is reported that Americans consume about one-third of their total calories on foods prepared outside the home. While consumers can find calorie and other nutrition information on most packaged foods that they buy in stores, this labeling is not generally available in restaurants and similar retail food establishments or visible on food inside vending machines.

The proposed rule applies to restaurants and similar retail food establishments that meet the following requirements:
1) part of a chain with 20 or more locations
2) doing business under the same name
3) offering for sale substantially the same menu items in their different locations

If a restaurant or similar retail food establishment does not meet these criteria it can voluntarily register and be covered under the federal requirements. Under this proposed regulation, movie theaters, airplanes, bowling alleys and other establishments whose primary purpose is not to sell food would not be subject to these proposed regulations as well.

Calories are required on menus and menu boards, including drive-through menu boards, in covered restaurants and similar retail food establishments; and on signs next to foods on display. The nutrition labeling must be clear and prominently posted. For vending machines, FDA is proposing that calories be declared in close proximity to the food.

You can view the rule in its entirety here. To learn more, please visit the FDA’s website and read through the FAQ’s to gain the information you need to prepare for these changes. MenuMax will calculate the nutritional information for your favorite recipes to help comply with the new rule, to learn more, visit and see how we can help.

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