On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. This health care reform legislation includes a provision, Section 4205, requiring mandatory nutrition labeling for food sold at chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments with over 20 locations.
This uniform national nutrition standard is endorsed by the NRA to prevent a patchwork of state and local regulations. States and localities would not be able to require additional nutrient information on menus.
In August 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) presented a Draft Guidance for Industry which provided questions and answers regarding implementation of the menu labeling provisions of section 4205. Due, in part, to the extensive comments they received on their draft guidance, the Food and Drug Administration acknowledged that the restaurant industry might require more guidance and time to comply with the provisions that went into effect when the bill was signed last March. They have withdrawn the draft and have told state and local authorities not to enforce the regulations until the final rule is published later on this year.
At this time, the FDA plans to complete the full rule-making process before it takes any enforcement action. Their deadline for a proposed rule is March 23, 2011. The FDA will then review comments on the proposed rule and issue a final rule later this year.
On The Menu is keeping close tabs on section 4205 and will provide updated information as it is available on this page and on our blog. This document provides a summary of the legislation. Please contact us with any questions. We are dedicated to keeping you informed.