On May 5, 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the availability of its final menu labeling guidance, “A Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments Selling Away-From-Home Foods – Part II (Menu Labeling Requirements in Accordance with 21 CFR 101.11).” The guidance is designed to help businesses comply with the menu labeling final rule.

Under a law signed late last year, FDA’s enforcement of its menu labeling final rule cannot begin until one year after FDA published this notice of availability. As a result, enforcement of the final Menu Labeling regulations will start on May 5, 2017.

FDA’s guidance responds to many frequently asked questions that it has received. It differs from the draft guidance by providing additional examples and new or revised questions and answers on topics such as covered establishments (pages 6, 12–17), alcohol beverages (pages 50–55), catered events (page 14), mobile vendors (page 16), grab-and-go items (pages 40–41) and record keeping requirements (pages 42–47).

FDA expressly noted that it is committed to working flexibly and cooperatively with establishments covered by the menu labeling final rule and to providing educational and technical assistance for state, local and tribal regulatory partners to support consistent compliance nationwide. FDA also announced that it will continue to conduct webinars and will hold menu labeling workshops that focus on specific stakeholder needs. The FDA will announce more information about these workshops at a later date. Covered establishments can send questions on menu labeling requirements to CalorieLabeling@fda.hhs.gov.

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