Menu Labeling Laws

January 10, 2011, 10:20 AM

The health care reform legislation signed by President Obama on March 23, 2010, requires restaurants and other food establishments with 20 or more locations to list calorie content information for standard menu items on restaurant menus and menu boards. Other nutrient information will have to be made available in writing upon request. The legislation also requires vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines to disclose calorie content for certain items. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued draft guidance for comment and is required to issue proposed regulations on how to implement these provisions by March 23, 2011. The FDA will not begin enforcement until the final guidance is issued. Restaurants with fewer than 20 locations and vending machine operators with fewer than 20 vending machines can voluntarily register to become subject to these new federal menu labeling requirements. —Nicole J. Harrell