Menu Makeover: What are the new menu rules?

The Lempert Report
December 22, 2014

Check out the new government calorie labeling rules

The FDA recently announced new rules that will require chain restaurants, movie theaters and other retailers who sell prepared foods to use calorie labels.  If you’re unsure how the rules breakdown, here’s a sampling of what will be labeled with calorie information and what won’t. First, what will be labeled?

•Menu items at chain restaurants, including drive-through and takeout boards.

• Drinks on menus, and soda dispensers.

• Some alcoholic beverages on menus.

•Most prepared foods in supermarkets, convenience stores.

•Concessions at movie theaters, amusement parks that are part of larger chains.

• Displays of food, such as pastries, at coffee chains like Starbucks.

• Food prepared on site at large retail outlets, such as Target and Costco.

And what about the foods that don't need to be labeled? 

•Menu items at independent restaurants with fewer than 20 outlets.

•Seasonal or daily specials at chain restaurants.

•Anything that isn't on a menu at a chain restaurant, such as a bread basket or drinks at the bar.

•Food on airplanes, trains.

•Food on food trucks.

•Deli meats, cheeses and bulk salads at grocery stores.

According to the FDA, as much as a third of the calories that Americans consume come from outside the home, the question is whether these changes will have significant implications for public health.