Sunday, November 30, 2014

New Calorie Rules for Restaurants

The Food and Drug Administration announced new calories rules for restaurants.  This is part of the Affordable Care Act.  So what will be changing?   
       1.        Chain restaurants (those with 20 or more locations), pizza parlors, movie theaters will be required to post calories on their menus.  
       2.       Beverages on Menus – calorie content of beverages, including alcohol will be posted but not for mixed drinks at a bar.  
       3.       Grocery stores – buying a sandwich or a salad for yourself, then the calories will be noted.    Buying a rotisserie chicken or other item designed to a number of people and the calories need not be noted.  
       4.       Convenience stores like 7-Eleven will need to post calories counts on prepared food meant to be eaten by one person.  
       5.       What type of foods will be labeled?

         a.       Meals from sit-down restaurants.
         b.      Food purchased at drive-through windows
         c.       Take-out food, like pizza
         d.      Foods, such as made-to-order sandwiches at a grocery store or delicatessen
         e.      Foods you serve yourself from a salad or hot food bar
         f.        Muffins at a bakery or coffee shop   
         g.  Popcorn purchased at a movie theater or even an amusement park 
         h.      A scoop of ice cream, milk shake or sundae from an ice cream store

FDA says this is important as Americans now consume about one third of their calories away from home.  But not everyone is happy about the new law.  Grocery stores are not pleased as they were not supposed to be included in the rule but FDA disagreed. 

So when can you expect to see these calorie counts at restaurants?  Not any time soon as FDA wants to give the industry time to adopt this new rule.  So restaurants have a year to comply.  But a number of restaurants already list calorie counts for their menus including Panera Bread and McDonald’s.  Many more offer this information online.  
 Sources: FDA to Require Calorie Count,  Overview of FDA Labeling Requirements, image source: 

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