Menu Labeling New Rules Beginning This Summer

The average American consumes about one third of their calories away from home. To help shoppers make more educated decisions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finalized two rules requiring that calorie information be listed in certain retail food establishments and vending machines. This regulation was released in December 2014 and is scheduled to take effect May 7th 2018.  

The menu labeling change applies to restaurants and retail food establishments that are part of a chain of 20 or more sites. This would include sit-down and fast-food restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, and grocery or convenience stores. The requirement also includes certain beverages and foods sold at entertainment venues such as movie theaters and amusement parks.

Now when we sit down at our favorite local food establishment, we will be able to determine how many calories are included with our meal. On the other hand, the FDA does offer some flexibility to items that are not intended for you to eat them right away.  This would include deli items such as sliced luncheon meat or raw fish. The flexibility also extends to items that are meant to feed more than one person. For instance, a family size salads and a whole roasted chicken would not be required to list the calories.  In addition to the labeling requirement, upon request, covered locations will need  to provide written information disclosing total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, and protein.

While restaurants are a place we grab a bite, some also navigate to vending machines for a quicker option.

Coming in the summer of 2018, the vending machine world is about to change. In June 2018 manufacturers must ensure that their products no longer contain unapproved partially hydrogenated oils. Rolling into July 2018 all vending machine companies with 20 or more machines will also need to have calorie information listed. The FDA delayed this requirement several times in order to be consistent with the compliance date for the new Nutrition Facts label requirements and allow vendors to make changes at the same time.
As we fast approach summer, keep your eyes open for the new information at your favorite restaurants and stores.  Becoming an educated consumer can be paired with regular physical activity for a healthy lifestyle. Also, give our Crispy Kale Chip Recipe a try when you have the craving for a salty snack with a nutritious twist.