Allergies and food bourne illnesses are becoming more and more common in the U.S. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to prevent these problems from resulting because of misinformation on restaurant menus. New labeling guidelines were just released by the FDA for restaurants and food establishments. The guidelines are supposed to be easier for restaurants to follow and for customers to understand. New guidelines have not come out in a few years, so they were overdue.
December 1, 2015, is when the “Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments” are supposed to go into full effect. The FDA is currently taking comments on the guidelines and changes will be made accordingly. In addition to new guidance for restaurants, the FDA is also working on regulations for vending machines. No date has been given for their release, but the FDA said soon.
The new FDA guidelines play a major role in restaurants’ supply chains. All menus must list calorie and other nutrition information. So, restaurants will have to take additional time during procurement to find out this information about the products they use in their restaurants. This applies to small entities and not just large chain restaurants. However, the FDA wants to give assistance where possible and has made the guidelines as easy to follow as possible.
The federal government takes comments on proposed regulations. You can read the comments or make comments of your own on the government’s regulations website. The FDA was not trying to make it harder for small restaurants to do business. They were trying to make food safer for customers around the world. As the new guidelines are embraced, fewer illnesses should result from the lack of calorie and food information on menus across the country.