Menu Labeling

In late November, the Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule to detail the requirements for many chain restaurants to add calorie data to menus, per Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It also will require covered restaurants to provide additional nutrition information to guests on request.
The regulations take effect in December 2015, and will cover restaurant companies and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations operating under the same name and with substantially the same menu items across their locations. Smaller restaurants can choose to comply voluntarily.

The Michigan Restaurant Association (MRA) has followed this issue closely for several years, and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) worked closely on the entire process. 

While the labeling rule will certainly require an adjustment period for many restaurant groups, there are a lot of reasons to believe the final product was a “win” for the industry in relation to earlier iterations of the rule. For instance:
  • Adoption of the “reasonable basis” standard for compliance

  • Inclusion of convenience and grocery stores among “similar retail food establishments”

  • One-year timeline for compliance

  • Additional flexibility on implementation, such as allowing pizzas to be labeled by the slice.

  • Federal preemption (no more patchwork regulation on the menu labeling front).
Here are a few quick links to help you learn more about the ruling:
  • Read the NRAs statement here.

  • A top-line summary of the rule and its requirements is provided here.

  • The NRA has created a webpage with ongoing resources and other tools about this topic. 

  • Sign up for the webinar hosted by the NRA, “What does the nutrition-labeling law mean for your restaurant?”, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET.