The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued two proposed regulations for mandatory labeling of nutrition and caloric information for restaurants, food establishments and vending machines.The purpose of the labels is to provide consumers with more information for better choices when eating outside the home.You may already see these regulations in action as you eat out or visit fast food locations.
The proposed laws would impact restaurants and food establishments with more than 20 locations.Entities with less than 20 locations may “opt in” to the federal menu labeling requirements by registering with the FDA every other year.Establishments such as movie theaters, airplanes, bowling alleys and other locations whose primary purpose is to not serve food would be exempt from the new requirements.
Calorie information must be disclosed prominently on all menus and menu boards including menu boards for drive-through restaurants.The information must be displayed clearly and prominently.A succinct statement must be posted prominently concerning daily caloric intake to help the public better understand the choices they are making.The proposed statement is suggested as “A 2,000 calorie diet is used as the basis for general nutrition advice; however, individual calorie needs may vary.”
Another requirement of the proposal would be wording on menus and menu boards that additional written nutrition is available to consumers upon request.
State and local governments will not be permitted to require additional or different nutritional requirements similar to those covered by the new proposed law.However, state and local requirements could be imposed on any facility not covered under these proposals.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans now consume roughly one-third of their calories from restaurants.Some further studies suggest that having nutritional information available when ordering may prompt consumers to order more healthy items.A report published in 2012 in the International Journal of Behavior Nutrition and Physical Activity reviewed seven studies and found that “calorie labeling does not have the intended effect of decreasing calorie purchasing or consumption.”
The FDA is inviting consumers to submit their comments on the proposed regulations by visiting www.regulations.gov