Restaurant Menu Labeling Compliance Date Changed

Since a menu-labeling law was passed in 2010, restaurants with 20 or more locations operating under the same name have faced new requirements. The requirements are that they provide calorie information for standard menu items and upon request of guests, provide additional nutritional information about menu items.

Changes to Compliance Date

According to an article published by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) , the date this requirement would go into effect has changed several times over the last few years:

  • Initially it was to begin on Dec 1, 2015
  • Then Congress directed the FDA to deal the day to May 5, 2016
  • Recently, the day has been delayed to May 5, 2017

The FDA announced the latest extension that pushed the date into 2017 on December 2, 2016. This extension will give restaurant owners the extra time they need to make the right choices about menu item information.

The purpose of the nationwide federal menu labeling standard is to give customers access to uniform information at restaurants. The rule also provides certainty for restaurant owners over the patchwork of state and local laws about menus.

What Restaurants and Food Retail Establishments Are Subject to the Menu Labeling Rule?

Restaurants and similar food retail establishments that are part of a chain of 20 or more locations that do business under the same name and offer substantially the same menu items must comply with the rule. The rule says that establishments serving “restaurant-type food” are subject to the rule.

Examples of “restaurant-type food include:

  • Food for immediate consumption at a sit-down or quick service restaurant
  • Food purchased at a drive-through
  • Take-out and delivery pizza
  • Hot pizza at a grocery and convenience store that is read to eat
  • Pizza slices from a movie theater
  • Hot buffet food
  • Hot soup at a soup bar
  • Food from a salad bar
  • Foods ordered from a menu or menu board at a grocery store for individual consumption
  • Self-service foods and foods on display for individual consumption (deli counter wraps, sandwiches and panini)
  • Cookies from a mail cookie counter
  • Bagels, donuts and rolls offered for individual sale

(FDA Guidance for Industry: Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items… )

At Stephen Hans & Associates, our employment litigation firm assists restaurant owners of small and medium sized businesses in employment related matters.

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