The final rule on Food Labeling; Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was published November 25, 2014.

The final rule is a reversal from the proposed rule, which was published in 2011. The proposed rule exempted amusement parks, movie theaters, hotels, and other venues whose primary business activity was not the sale of food to consumers. The final rule now includes these venues, where they meet the requirements below.

Section 4205 of the ACA requires that calorie and other nutrition information be provided to consumers in restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are:
1) Part of a chain with 20 or more locations,
2) Doing business under the same name and,
3) Offering for sale substantially the same menu items.

Under this rule, a “restaurant or similar retail food establishment” means a retail establishment that offers for sale restaurant-type food, except if it is a school. “Restaurant-type foods” are foods that are usually eaten on the premises, while walking away, or soon after arriving at another location. Items such as pre-packaged souvenir candy, sold for later consumption, are not “restaurant-type foods”.

Only standard menu items need to be labeled. Special or seasonal items do not need to be label, nor do condiments. Beverages, including alcoholic beverages, must be labeled.

Information for standard menu items must be provided on menus, menu boards, or signs adjacent to self-service foods and foods on display. Additional nutrition information for standard menu items must be available in written form, available on the premises, to consumers on request. This additional nutrition information must include:

(1) Total calories (cal);
(2) Calories from fat (fat cal);
(3) Total fat (g);
(4) Saturated fat (g);
(5) Trans fat (g);
(6) Cholesterol (mg);
(7) Sodium (mg);
(8) Total carbohydrate (g);
(9) Dietary fiber (g);
(10) Sugars (g); and
(11) Protein (g).

IAAPA’s Quick Analysis
Generally, dining establishments in IAAPA member facilities are individually branded. IAAPA believes these establishments do not fall under the menu labeling rule.

Franchised dining establishments will most likely fall under the rule. Operators with franchised dining establishments on their property should contact the corporate parent for more information. 

Food retail locations, including carts, that are nameless or have a generic name (e.g., “Concessions”, or “Popcorn”) take the name of the parent company, so if a facility has 20 or more nameless or generically-named food retail locations (including carts) throughout the U.S., those locations may be subject to the rule.

The rule goes into effect December 1, 2015.
Next Steps

IAAPA is taking a “deep dive” into the 400-page rule, and will produce an industry Fact Sheet in December. Please email all questions to Stephanie See.

IAAPA will also be in contact with the FDA on industry-specific issues.