The FDA’s Menu Labeling Rule is effective May 7, 2018. We’ve compiled some FAQ’s that will help.
Who needs to comply?
Restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations or a franchisee chain with 20 or more locations will be required to provide calorie counts and nutrition information on their menus and be able to provide additional nutrient facts to any customer upon request.
What information do we need to provide?
If you fall under the rule you will be required 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.
For more details, visit the FDA’s Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments. You may want to print a copy for reference.
Are there any exemptions?
- Temporary menu items (see paragraph 3.20 of the Labeling Guide)
- Condiments that are for general use (see paragraph 5.2 of the Labeling Guide)
- Daily specials (see paragraph 3.12 of the Labeling Guide)
- Custom orders by customers (see paragraph 3.11 of the Labeling Guide)
- Food for a market test – less than 90 days on the menu (see paragraph 3.15 of the Labeling Guide)
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 Labeling Guide.
What information do we 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 of the Labeling Guide)
- The following statement: “Additional nutrition information available upon request.”
How do I determine the calorie and nutrient values for my menu items?
The FDA Labeling Guide provides several different ways to determine this information (see paragraphs 6.1 – 6.25 of the Labeling Guide), 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