FDA – Final Guidance on Menu Labeling published

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on 29th April the publication of its final guidance for industry, “A Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments Selling Away-From-Home Foods – Part II (Menu Labeling Requirements in Accordance with 21 CFR 101.11).”

The FDA intends to begin enforcing the menu labeling final rule one year from the date that the Notice of Availability (NOA) is published in the Federal Register. The NOA for the guidance is expected to be published in early May 2016.

This guidance responds to many frequently asked questions that the agency has received to date. It differs from the draft guidance by providing additional examples and new or revised questions and answers on topics such as covered establishments, alcoholic beverages, catered events, mobile vendors, grab-and-go items, and record keeping requirements.

In 2010, section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended 403(q)(5)(H) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 343(q)(5)(H)) to require that restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, and offering for sale substantially the same menu items, provide calorie information for standard menu items (including food on display and self-service food) and provide, upon request, additional written nutrition information for standard menu items.

This guidance document describes nutrition labeling that is required for foods sold in covered establishments, how this information (calorie and nutrition labeling) may be presented, and when exempt foods, as defined further below, must provide nutrition labeling. The guidance also describes means (reasonable basis) by which nutrient values may be derived.

You can download the PDF file here.

(Source: FDA website)

FDA delays compliance date for menu calories labelling

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is extending the compliance date for the final rule requiring disclosure of certain nutrition information for standard menu items in certain restaurants and retail food establishments. The final rule appeared in the Federal Register of December 1, 2014 and it was supposed to enter in application on December 1, 2015: the date is delayed by one year, to December 1, 2016.

FDA is taking this action in response to requests for an extension and for further clarification of the rule’s requirements. One of the major problem stressed by the food business operators was the complexity of the software needed to grant this kind of information.

The FDA will publish further clarification, probably with the Q&A format.

It has to be noticed that in New York a similar rule is effective from 2008, and some major companies like Starbucks and McDonalds has yet implemented the calories indication on menus/boards.