Federal Menu Labeling Requirements Explained
The FDA has released a long-awaited final federal rule to explain new menu-labeling requirements for chain restaurants. In general, the rule will cover restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they operate 20 or more locations under the same name with substantially the same menu items at its locations. If you are affected by these rules, you will have some time to prepare, as they do not go into effect until 12/1/2015.
Smaller restaurants may comply with the rules if they choose, but this on a strictly voluntary basis. If you meet the guidelines to comply, or choose to comply voluntarily, beginning in December 2015, you must clearly and prominently display calories on menus, menu boards and drive-thru displays for standard menu items.
On buffet, cafeteria and self-service lines, calorie information must be displayed on signs near the menu items. You may use the term “calories” or “Cal” as a column heading or adjacent to the number of calories for each standard menu item.
All non-alcoholic beverages and any alcoholic drinks that are on a drink menu are covered under the new rules. The regulations do not affect mixed drinks requested by customers at a bar.