What are the proposed regulations?
Restaurants with 20 or more locations will be required to prominently post calorie counts for standard menu items on menus, menu boards and drive-through displays as well as calories per serving for each item on a buffet, salad bar, cafeteria line or self-service display. Additional nutrient information (fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sodium, protein and fiber) must be available and provided at the consumer’s request. The menus also must contain a statement about suggested daily calorie intake to help the public understand the significance of the calorie information on the menu by putting it in context of a total daily diet.
Are there any exemptions?
The bill exempts small businesses and does not apply to daily or temporary specials and customized orders.
How does the bill affect vending machines?
In addition the bill also applies to businesses owning or operating 20 or more vending machines, requiring calorie signage for the vending machine items in close proximity of each food or on the selection buttons.
How about current menu labeling legislation?
Similar menu labeling measures are already in effect or awaiting implementation in New York, California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Philadelphia and a dozen other localities. The language in health reform legislation will establish national standard labeling requirements which will supersede the varied state and local requirements, so consumers would see calorie information in the same format regardless of restaurant, city or state. 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.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has one year to issue proposed regulations and then additional time to finalize through a formal rule making process. The FDA must make quarterly reports on its progress to Congress. In the same time frame the restaurant industry is required to make a labeling proposal. At On The Menu, LLC we have assisted over 100 clients with menu labeling. We are keeping close tabs on section 2572. Please call or email us with any questions. We are dedicated to keeping you informed.