The purpose of this memo is to provide School Food Authorities (SFAs) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published final rule, Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and similar Retail Food Establishments in the Federal Register (79 FR 71155) on December 1, 2014. This rule requires that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants, and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations to provide consumers with more nutritional information about the foods they eat outside of the home.
The purpose of the FDA rule is to make nutrition information available to consumers in a direct and accessible manner to enable them to make informed and healthful dietary choices. The rule becomes effective December 1, 2015.
Under this new FDA regulation, restaurants and retail store operators must provide a calorie statement on menus for all standard menu items. They also must make available, upon request, nutrition information for 11 nutrients (total calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugar, and protein) for these menu items.
However, schools operating under the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program are specifically excluded by this new rule, and therefore are not required to implement these requirements. However, Child Nutrition Program operators may voluntarily implement similar initiatives.
Making nutrition information available to students and parents may help students make more informed choices about the foods they select and consume at school. Schools may already have much of this nutritional information on hand for reimbursable meals served at school and for á la carte Smart Snacks sold on campus. This information may be in the form of standardized recipes, nutrition fact labels and food product labels. Schools may find that making some or all of this information available is fairly easy.
For questions regarding this memo contact your Area Specialist, Karen Franklin, or Nancy Dill at 501-324-9502.
For more information about the FDA menu labeling regulation visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/2014-27833/food-labeling-nutrition-labeling-of-standard-menu-items-in-restaurants-and-similar-retail-food
Interested schools can refer to the following resources which may be helpful for developing and implementing a menu calorie labeling program:
Nutrient Analysis Protocols: How to Analyze Menus for USDA’s School Meals Programs http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/menu-planning/menu-planning-tools
National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods
USDA Supertracker Food-A-Pedia: http://www.supertracker.usda.gov