While the Food and Drug Administration is still deciding when to start enforcement of national nutrition labeling laws for restaurants, it is releasing more information to help operators get ready.
Aug. 24, the agency released two documents which aim to help chain restaurants comply with the requirements. The documents include a draft guidance, which can be found at http://tinyurl.com/menu-draft, that outlines certain requirements, as well as a final guidance, at http://tinyurl.com/menu-fdalaw, that addresses the effect of the federal requirements on existing state and regional laws.
That guidance confirms that the new national law trumps any state or regional laws, saying, “State and local governments cannot directly or indirectly impose any nutrition labeling requirements that are different from” the law.
The federal requirements for nutrition labeling at restaurants was signed into law in March as part of the Affordable Care Act.
When the draft guidance is finalized, it will include information on an enforcement date for the regulations, according to an FDA statement. The agency is still seeking comments on the appropriate time to start enforcement in an open comment period set to close early September.
The FDA is still working on the requirements for a statement on the menu or menu board which puts the calorie information in the context of a total daily caloric intake, as well as standards for determining and disclosing the nutrient content for standard menu items that come in different flavors, varieties or combinations, according to the guidance.