Can I get a calorie count with my order? This will be a popular question that restaurants will need to have an accurate answer for sooner than you think. Finally we will get answers and public heath becomes front and center for consumers!

 

With about eight months to go before the menu labeling deadline, many restaurants are wondering if they can get it done in time. Restaurants owners may think they need a hero but a champion would do.

 

A champion would be someone in your restaurant who is willing to take charge of the menu labeling requirement laws and work with dietary professionals to evaluate your menu. The champion needs to be organized and willing to learn everything there is to know about this transition.

 

That means dedicating the next eight months to the transition and hitting goals like:

  • Understanding the requirements and guidelines
  • How to make sure that you’re offering accurate nutrition information Complete an accurate nutrition analysis.
  • Display required nutrition information.
  • Effectively train front- and back-of-house team members on menu labeling requirements.

 

Wondering where to get started? We got you covered!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released this easy to use set of guidelines for the industry of the final menu labeling on December 1, 2014. This is a must-read, step - by - step guide for restaurants affected by the legislation.

 

Menu Items Affected by the Labeling Requirements

More than 250,000 restaurants across the country are subject to menu labeling legislation. Not all food is subject to the menu labeling requirement. It’s important to know what foods in your establishment will be covered by the requirements before you begin working with professionals on any nutrition analysis, menu updates or menu board designs.

 

According to a recent guidance document released by the FDA only standard food items are considered to be on the list.

 

Beverages

One of the biggest questions is if beverages were going to be considered on the list. The answer is, YES for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on the menu. Whether beverages are served by a restaurant employee or if it’s at a self serve station the beverage must list the calories.

 

Ensure that you’re restaurant is ready for the December deadline. “Restaurants should be well underway with getting ready for menu labeling. It almost always takes more time than you expect to make sure everything is accurate and ready to add to menus and menu boards,” says Mary Parsons, MS, RD, culinary dietitian at Healthy Dining. “There is time needed to make sure the recipes are accurate, time needed to gather product labels from suppliers and time needed for quality assurance and verification. To avoid being held up by unexpected roadblocks, it’s safest for restaurants to start nutrition analysis projects several months in advance of the date that you plan to print.”

 

Stay ahead of the curve and organized by developing:

  • Checklists
  • Timelines
  • Fact sheets
  • Tutorials

 

Good luck at championing the menu labeling requirements!

 

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