What Do the FDA Menu Labeling Regulations Mean to You?

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What Do the FDA Menu Labeling Regulations Mean to You?

06/22/2012

When it comes to convenience store foodservice menu labeling, industry experts say it boils down to one very simple question: Do you want to lead or follow?

Current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules require any chain with 20 or more locations under the same banner — and whose primary business is selling food — to display calorie counts on menus and menu boards for all prepared and packaged food items for sale. The rules apply to locations where 50 percent or more of the floor space is dedicated to selling food.

Meanwhile, proposed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to clarify the regulation that has grouped retail establishments such as convenience stores in with restaurant establishments. The proposed legislation would change the standard to apply to businesses where 50 percent or more of the revenue (instead of floor space) is derived from food, which could eliminate most c-store operators from compliance.

But several industry foodservice leaders say the regulations and proposed changes to the regulations are not the issue. The crux of the matter is that consumers want and need nutritional information to make more informed purchase decisions, and that's what the industry should provide — law or no law. Menu labeling should be viewed as just another service to customers, according to the experts.

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CSNews’ How To Do World-Class Foodservice report is researched and written by Maureen Azzato, a freelance content developer and editor with more than 20 years of business publishing experience, with a primary focus on foodservice and retailing. Previously she was the founding publisher and editorial director of On-the-Go Foodservice, a publication for cross-channel retail foodservice executives, and publisher and editorial director of Convenience Store News, where she worked for 17 years.