The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized the rule requiring the display of calorie information on menus and menu boards. This was officially recognized December 1, 2014, and applies to chain restaurants and other covered establishments with 20 or more locations. Restaurants will have one year to comply with the menu labeling requirements, paving the way for major adjustments toward the transparency in what consumers purchase, eat, and ultimately decide.
Calorie information is required to be displayed clearly and conspicuously on menus and menu boards, next to the name or price of the item. Also required is additional nutrition information including total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars and protein. These values must be provided in written form upon request of a restaurant guest, while calorie content is presented front and center at all times.
The FDA considered more than 1,100 comments from stakeholders and consumers in the development of these rules. In response to these comments, they narrowed the scope of foods covered and provided flexibility for popular serving dishes like pizza. Pizza was identified a “variable menu item,” in the final regulation. Pizza is one of many food items sold in various sizes, but that is not the only issue. Pizzas offer an incredible potential for large numbers of topping combinations, raising some rather specific questions from restaurants as they move forward with the FDA’s new menu labeling rules.
Size – By Serving Suggestion
Let's begin by discussing pizza sizes. First, “size” refers to the number of portions or servings. Calories declared must be for the whole menu item listed on the menu, as usually prepared and offered for sale. In the case of pizza, this means the caloric value of a whole pizza pie is listed. As another option, calories can be declared per serving, granted the item comes in discrete serving units (e.g., pizza slice), and the total number of discrete serving units per menu item are declared on the menu. (e.g., 200 cal/slice, 8 slices). The emphasis here is the word “discrete.” Other complexities exist for cases where serving units are not pre-cut for the customer at time of purchase. Please see our “Unique Circumstances” section below.Read More