The new rules, which are part of the Affordable Care Act, cover foods, beverages and some alcoholic drinks served at chain restaurants, grocery stores, vending machines, takeaway pizza outlets, amusement parks, and movie theaters with 20+ outlets that serve substantially the same menu items.
However, they do not cover foods from grocery stores or delis that are intended for more than one person to eat and require additional preparation before consuming, such as pounds of deli meats and cheeses and large deli salads.
Aside from calorie information, the menu labeling final rule also requires covered establishments to provide written information about the nutritional profile of their products upon request.
Industry reaction to the proposed rules has been mixed, with the thumbs up from the National Restaurant Association and public health groups, but frustration from food retail associations with the FDA’s broad definition of “similar retail establishments” aside from restaurant chains with 20+ outlets that must comply with the new rules.
Further guidance to help firms comply will be issued in August, said the FDA: “The FDA agrees additional time is necessary for the agency to provide further clarifying guidance to help facilitate efficient compliance across all covered businesses and for covered establishments to come into compliance with the final rule.”
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