People dining today are looking for more and more transparency when it comes to the food they are eating. Demands for nutritional information and ingredients have made the FDA step up and put forth a mandate for menu labeling. On May 7, 2018, the FDA stated that the menu labeling mandate was now in effect. This means that any restaurant with 20 or more locations must have calories on the menu and additional nutritional information available upon request.
Since this mandate first went into effect, the FDA stated several times they would focus on education during year one making it clear there was a grace periodfor those affected to be compliant. Well, that year will be exhausted on May 7, 2019 and the health departments leniency will not be as strong. The FDA still needs to provide more guidance to the industry on enforcement. States/cities/counties that have adopted the federal regulations as their own (like California and New York City) can enforce at any time. However, we’re not sure how the FDA will enforce in areas that didn’t adopt the federal regulations. What we anticipate are more enforcements starting in May of 2019 by local health departments.
Some clues that these mandates will be enforced are already happening. In Canada, the health departments are already coming down hard on US brands with rigid rules and long to do lists in order to be compliant. Brands that might not be covered under the menu labeling regulations still need to keep an eye out, especially with their grab-and-go items. In California, we recently worked with a company that got in trouble with the health department for failing to have ingredient statements on their packaged food items. This shows that inspectors are taking these labeling initiatives seriously
If you have 20+ locations, offer grab and go products or are just looking to be compliant in order to meet the demands of modern diners, we can help! Click here to learn more about the regulation specifics set forth by the FDA and give us a call today to meet the mandate before the grace period is up.