Overview of FDA Labeling Requirements for Restaurants and Vending Machines

Posted By: Selerant RSA


On 25th Nov; The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finalized two rules requiring that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants, similar retail food establishments and vending machines with 20 or more locations to provide consumers with more nutritional information about the foods they eat outside of the home.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters: “Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home. Therefore making calorie information available on chain restaurant menus and vending machines is an important step for public health that will help consumers make informed choices for themselves and their families.”

Menu labeling final rule: Applies to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, offering for sale substantially the same menu items and offering for sale restaurant-type foods. Restaurants and similar retail food establishments will have one year to comply with the menu labeling requirements (December 1, 2015).

The FDA considered more than 1,100 comments from stakeholders and consumers in developing these rules. In response, the FDA narrowed the scope of foods covered by the rule to more clearly focus on restaurant-type food, built in flexibility for multi-serving dishes like pizza to be labeled by the slice rather than as a whole pie. The menu labeling rule also includes certain entertainment venues like movie theaters and amusement parks and requires that certain types of alcohol have labels.

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.

Moreover To help consumers understand the significance of the calorie information in the context of a total daily diet, under the rule, menus and menu boards will include the statement: “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.”

Vending machine final rule: Requires operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines to disclose calorie information for food sold from vending machines, subject to certain exemptions. Vending machine operators will have two years to comply with the requirements (December 1, 2016).

The two final rules are available in the Federal Register:

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