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FDA Seeks Public Comment on New Federal Menu Labeling Requirements

Food Basket

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition - Food and Drug Administration

July 7, 2010

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced the opening of a docket to gather public comment and information to help the agency implement a new federal law that requires the posting of calorie content and other nutrition information on menu items at certain chain restaurants and similar retail food operations and vending machines.

The new law, Section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act signed into law March 23, 2010, sets new federal requirements for foods sold at certain restaurants, coffee shops, delis, movie theaters, bakeries, ice cream shops, and vending machines.

Prior to the new law, federal law already required nutrition labeling on many packaged foods, which may be purchased in supermarkets and at other locations, and some states and local governments required nutritional labeling by restaurants in their jurisdictions.

The new law requires restaurants and similar retail food establishments which are part of a chain with 20 or more locations that offer substantially the same menu items to list calorie content information on menus and menu boards, including drive-through menu boards.

Other nutrient information – total calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber, and total protein – must be made available in writing on request. The act also requires vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines to disclose calorie content for certain items.

The FDA is required by law to issue proposed regulations to carry out these provisions by March 23, 2011. The agency also expects to issue guidance concerning the requirements of Section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act.

For more information:
Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0298