From the 5th May, 2017 it will become a legal requirement of all restaurants and food outlet in the U.S. to display nutritional information on their menus and/or packaging if they have more than 20 sites. This legislation comes only 6 months after the similar labelling laws were passed in the UK, highlighting the attention and significance that has been granted to this process and its related issues.
The upcoming legislation is the ‘final rule’ for nutritional labelling, and follows previous guidelines announced by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration ) in May 2016 for packaged food to reflect the health related relationship between diet and disease, particularly obesity and heart disease.
As the FDA explain, these movements have been an attempt to help consumers understand what is really in the food they are eating, filling in a crucial information gap and educating people about healthy dietary options. Over consumption of calories is one of the primary risk factors for overweight and obesity, and many people do not know, or underestimate, the calorie and nutrient content of many foods.
The legislation is specifically targeting large chains with 20 or more locations who do business under the same name and generally use the same menu, however it is likely that this focus will extend to smaller establishments in the near future.
With the implementation of this act, all calorie information needs to be listed on menu items, menus and menu boards, with a clear statement about the suggested daily caloric intake. Further information regarding the nutritional values, the calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fibre, sugars, and protein, will also have to be made available in writing on request and signposted as to where this information can be made available.
This is an example of the original vs new nutritional value label, provided by the FDA.
Examples of the products included in this legislation- when provided by an establishment with 20+ sites- are as follows:
- Meals from sit-down restaurants
- Foods purchased at drive-through windows
- Take-out food, such as pizza
- Foods, such as made-to-order sandwiches, ordered from a menu or menu board at a grocery store or delicatessen
- Foods you serve yourself from a salad or hot food bar
- Muffins at a bakery or coffee shop
- Popcorn purchased at a movie theatre or amusement park
- A scoop of ice cream, milkshake or sundae from an ice cream store
- Hot dogs or frozen drinks prepared on site in a convenience or warehouse store
- Certain alcoholic beverages
Foods that are not covered include:
- Certain foods purchased in grocery stores or other similar retail food establishments that are typically intended for more than one person to eat and require additional preparation before consuming, such as pounds of deli meats, cheeses, or large-size deli salads.
The legislation also extends to products that are being sold from a vending machine. In this instance the calorie intake of a product needs to be placed on a sign near the product, and electronic or digital displays can also be used. Again, this rule focuses on operators who own 20+ sites (in this scenario 20+ machines). The contact details of the operator must also be clearly displayed on the machine, so that the FDA will be able to contact the owner for enforcement purposes should they need to.
It is without question that this legislation is a great step in the right direction, with the crucial intentions of providing clear, accurate information for consumers leading the way. One of the key issues that is now a key consideration for businesses and commercial kitchens, is the provision of clear and compliant labels on their products and/or menus. As this can be a costly and time consuming process, it is only natural that those involved are going to be seeking support with this
At Kafoodle we have worked in response to this need by developing our own complaint labelling system. This new labelling functionality prints clear, accurate labels direct from a user’s online recipe card, displaying all of the product’s ingredients and the subsequent nutritional values.
Systems like this really help providers reduce the time and cost that these imperative requirements can entail, ensuring that they are always providing their consumers with the information that they require.
As our co-founder, Tarryn Gorre explains:
“Consumer demand for food information has grown and whilst the legislation might be aimed at larger chains we have seen an increase in smaller businesses wanting to be transparent with customers as well. At Kafoodle we are proud to have created a product that allows all businesses to easily generate compliant information with the ability to seamlessly print a label for your product and/or publicise your information via our app or website is a win-win.”
If you are a US or UK company we would love to help you address these new labelling regulations- so please contact us to find out more on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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