WASHINGTON – Last November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its long-awaited regulations implementing menu-labeling requirements at restaurants and "similar retail food establishments." The final rule applies to more entities than originally anticipated, including many convenience stores.
As a general matter, establishments that are covered by the menu-labeling regulations must post calories for standard menu items on menus or menu boards or, for self-service items and foods on display, on signs adjacent to the items. They also will be required to provide additional written nutrition information to consumers upon request.
NACS has prepared a brief summary and compliance guide of the final menu-labeling regulations. Unfortunately, much of the menu-labeling rule's requirements are unclear, as they apply to convenience stores. This is in part because the law is designed primarily for chain restaurants, and applying it to convenience stores creates many complexities that FDA does not adequately appreciate.
In the coming months, NACS hopes to work with the relevant federal officials to obtain guidance and clarification on certain aspects of the menu-labeling rule. NACS will also continue working with key members of Congress to pass legislation limiting the rule's coverage to establishments for which the "primary business activity" is selling restaurant-type food.
Nonetheless, retailers should begin developing an understanding of the rule's requirements and thinking about compliance strategies, as the new rules are set to take effect December 1, 2015. The NACS summary and compliance guide is available here.