The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released draft guidance designed to assist chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments (including many convenience stores operated by truckstops) in complying with federal menu labeling requirements. The guidance is available here.
Under an FDA rule finalized last year, calorie information must be listed for most food items on menus and menu boards, including self-service food, in chain restaurants and convenience stores with 20 or more locations operating under the same name. In July 2015, the FDA extended the menu labeling rule compliance date by an additional year
; covered establishments must now comply with the final menu labeling rule by December 1, 2016.
Although FDA's recent guidance document provides some much-needed clarity to excessively complex and cumbersome menu labeling rules, NATSO continues to advocate for legislation that would make compliance for truckstop operators' -- many of whom operate a wide variety of foodservice establishments -- less burdensome.
NATSO is actively supporting legislation in Congress that would accomplish this objective without seriously compromising consumers' ability to receive nutrition information. The bipartisan Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (H.R. 2017), sponsored by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), would make it easier for covered establishments to comply with the menu labeling rules, while also revising FDA's enforcement regime to avoid excessive, unpredictable punishments for alleged violations.
NATSO currently is preparing a detailed compliance guide to assist truckstop operators as they grapple with the menu-labeling requirements. This guide, which will incorporate the information contained in FDA's recent guidance document, will be available in the coming weeks.
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