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FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Labeling Menu Items

Sep 18, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration recently released a second draft guidance intended to assist companies with meeting the upcoming requirements for labeling caloric content of items on menus. It also covers the required provision of additional nutrition information on restaurant foods and beverages and will follow a recently published delay of the compliance date to December 1, 2016.

Dairy foods that may be affected by the new rule include ice cream sundaes sold in scoop shops and yogurt parfaits available in restaurants. Dairy companies may also be contacted by foodservice customers for additional information on calorie content as these customers work to meet the compliance deadline.

The draft guidance clarifies a number of issues from the final rule requiring menu calorie labeling, including which products must be labeled, which establishments must comply with the new requirements and the succinct nutrition statement that must appear on menus. It explains the methods for displaying the calorie content and additional nutrition information for a variety of situations and products, such as “grab and go” products, products with variable toppings and serving sizes, and products ordered through a kiosk.

FDA also outlined procedures for determining calorie and other nutrition information and clarified the process for substantiating these values for compliance purposes.

In addition to these topics, the guidance provides information on:

  • Labeling on marketing materials that are not considered menus;
  • Using databases and recipe books for calculating nutrient content;
  • Rounding rules for declaring nutrient content; and
  • Claims on restaurant-type foods and beverages.

Read the guidance here. FDA will also be accepting public comments on this draft guidance through November 2, 2015.

For more information, read “FDA Issues Final Menu and Vending Machine Labeling Requirements.”

Members with questions may contact Michelle Matto, IDFA’s consultant on nutrition and labeling, at or Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs, at

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