What is in this article?:
- Biggest restaurant nutrition news of 2012
- Legislative efforts
Three major themes set the stage for restaurant nutrition moves in the coming year
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The Food and Drug Administration is expected to release the final Menu Labeling rules in early 2013, with an anticipated six- to 12-month compliance period. This provision will require restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calories on the menu and have additional nutrition information (sodium, fat, etc.) available.
Some news this year has covered whether alcoholic beverages, movie theaters, hotels, stadiums, and other venues will be included in the provision, which has support from consumers, the restaurant industry and health advocates alike.
Vending machines are included in the provision, and the major soft drink companies announced plans to launch a “Calories Count Vending Program” next year that will focus on promoting lower calorie products at vending machines.
Louisville, Ky., was the only region this year that passed and enforced a regional menu labeling ordinance; however, the federal legislation will pre-empt all state and regional menu labeling provisions.
In November, Technomic released research showing that 65 percent of restaurant patrons favor nutritional labeling in restaurants, with the strongest demand for listing of calories and sodium content.
New York City passed the first legislative effort of its kind, banning the sale of sodas and other sugary drinks that contain more than 16 ounces. This regulation includes restaurants, street carts and movie theaters. Other regions are considering similar legislative efforts.
Rhode Island, following Massachusetts’ lead, approved a bill requiring restaurants to display allergy-awareness posters to inform foodservice workers of the importance of their roles in preventing allergic reactions and the steps they can take to protect food-allergic customers. Additionally, restaurants are required to post a notice on menus and menu boards asking customers to make servers aware when placing their orders if someone in the party has a food allergy. The first-of-its-kind Food Allergy Conference for Restaurateurs was held in Boston to help restaurants develop a program to meet the special dietary requirements of guests with food allergies.
Contact Anita Jones-Mueller, M.P.H., at email@example.com.