By Carleton Rivers, MS, RD, LD
On November 25, 2014, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized two rules regarding calorie labeling to assist consumers in making informed food choices while away from home.
Rule 1: Chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments are required to “clearly and conspicuously display calorie information for standard items on menus and menu boards.” Calorie information can be placed next to the name or price of the item. This final rule also includes certain alcoholic beverages that are listed on menus. Upon consumer request, covered establishments are required to provide “nutrition information about total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugar and protein.” Menu items that are exempt from this rule include temporary items, daily specials, and condiments. Chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments have one year to comply with the new menu labeling requirements.
To provide consumers with a better understanding of calorie amounts, menus and menu boards will include the following statement: “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.”
Rule 2: Vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines are required to include calorie information for food items sold from their vending machines. Calorie information must be clearly displayed with a sign either in, on, or adjacent to the vending machine. Vending machine operators have two years to comply with the labeling requirements.
Links to view the two rules in the Federal Register:
- Final Rule: Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items
- Final Rule: Calorie Labeling in Vending Machines
FDA News Release: FDA finalizes menu and vending machine calorie labeling rules. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm423952.htm. Accessed December 2, 2014.