Food Testing >> Resources >> FDA Menu Labeling Enforcement Begins May 5th

FDA Menu Labeling Enforcement Begins May 5th

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will begin enforcing new regulations for menu labeling on May 5th, 2018. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) determined that certain food establishments must make nutrition information accessible. What do you, as a producer, distributor or restaurant owner, need to know? The Eurofins Nutrition Analysis Center team recommends verifying your menu labels with a professional. Our laboratory uses a variety of analyses and ESHA Genesis software to generate labels with the proper values and formatting for your needs.

Who has to label menusWho has to comply?

Restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain of 20 or more locations doing business under the same name (e.g. franchises), and any establishment offering for sale restaurant-type foods.

This includes:

  • Bakeries
  • Chain restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • Vending machines
  • Fast food chains
  • Grocery stores
  • Retail food establishments


Who is exempt?

Anyone may voluntarily register to menu label enforcement, however, food trucks, sidewalk carts, trains/airline, chains with fewer than 20 locations are exempt.


Let's start the conversation

What food items are covered?

  • Standard menu items
  • Any foods routinely included on menu boards
    • Combination meals
    • Self-service food
    • Food on display
    • Salad bars
    • Alcoholic beverages


What food items are exempt?

  • Alcohol on display behind the bar
  • Custom orders or daily specials
  • Market test items (90 days or fewer)
  • Temporary menu items (fewer than 60 days)


What information is required?

  • Calories
  • Calorie statement
  • Additional information (must be posted or readily available upon request)
    • Calories from fat
    • Total fat
    • Saturated fat
    • Cholesterol
    • Sodium
    • Total carbohydrate
    • Dietary fiber
    • Sugars
    • Protein


What if... item has variable options?

The information on your menu label would look like this:

  • (Grilled or fried) 350/550 Calories . . . . . $7.99
  • (Grilled/baked/fried) 350-550 Cal . . . . . .$7.99
drive through menu establishment has a drive-thru?

Drive-thru menus have the same requirements as menu boards inside an establishment. Beverages must state the number of calories ordinarily dispensed to standard fill with ice.  

self serve label establishment has self-serve items or foods on display?

There are three approaches to meet FDA guidelines for these types of items:

  1. Sign adjacent to clearly associate with the corresponding food (including calories directly on the package of the grab and go item)

  2. Sign attached to the sneeze guard

  3. Single sign or placard listing calorie declaration for several food items (but must be located where the consumer can view the information while making their selection). For example:

  • 300 calories per muffin
  • 200 calories per scoop of potato salad
  • 140 calories per 12 fluid ounces (small)
combo meal

...the item is a combination meal?

Similar to variable options, the information on your menu label should provide a range matching the order of combos listed.

  • Cheeseburger, salad or chips 450/550 Calories . . .$4.79
  • Cheeseburger, salad, fruit or chips, 450-550 Calories . . .$4.79


Let's start the conversation

Contact us with your questions or testing needs!