FDA Finalizes Menu-Labeling Rule

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled its menu-labeling rule Nov. 25, requiring that retailers and vending machine operators list calorie information on menus and menu boards.

The final rule applies to chain restaurants, convenience stores and similar retail food establishments and vending machines with 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name and offering substantially the same menu items for sale.

Retailers have one year to comply, while vending-machine operators have two years.

Food establishments will be required to clearly and conspicuously display calorie information for standard items on menus and menu boards, next to the name or price of the item.  Menus and menu boards must include the statement: “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.”

The menu labeling final rule also requires covered establishments to provide, upon consumer request and as noted on menus and menu boards, written nutrition information about total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars and protein.

Seasonal menu items offered for sale as temporary menu items, daily specials and condiments for general use typically available on a counter or table are exempt.

The 2010 health care law charged the FDA with requiring chain restaurants and other establishments that serve food to put calorie counts on menus and in vending machines.

The agency issued a proposed rule in 2011, but the final rule was delayed for years after FDA said that menu labeling had turned out to be one of the agency’s most challenging issues because requiring calorie counts in some establishments made sense on paper, but turned out to be hard in practice.

FDA said it considered more than 1,100 comments from stakeholders and consumers.

The National Restaurant Association said more than 200,000 restaurants across the United States must comply with the rule.

Final Rule: Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments

Final Rule: Calorie Labeling of Articles of Food in Vending Machines


Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman's photo

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman develops and executes communications strategies to advance NATSO’s public relations and advocacy goals. Tiffany also develops and oversees partnerships related to the NATSO Foundation’s public outreach initiatives. Tiffany lives in the D.C. metro area with her husband and their two sons.More
Web-Only Content

Tell Us What You Think

Back to Food & Tobacco