By: Stephanie Barnes, Chief Regulatory Officer, Food Marketing Institute

20171205-FMI-Store Shoot-0432_edAs the compliance date of May 7, 2018 rapidly approaches, our members continue to work diligently to implement the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) menu labeling rule. The rule requires calorie labeling (and additional nutritional information upon request) for standard menu items at covered establishments. FDA has indicated that four clear criteria must be met in order to be considered a covered establishment and, thus, covered by the menu labeling rule:

  1. Being part of a chain with 20 or more locations;
  2. Doing business under the same name;
  3. Selling substantially the same menu items; and
  4. Selling restaurant type foods (defined, in part, as food that is usually eaten on the premises, while walking away, or soon after arriving at another location).

The food retail industry has long supported transparency, and works hard to provide customers with the information they want in order to make informed purchasing decisions. As such, we have also received feedback from members who are not covered by the menu labeling rule (i.e., who do not meet the above criteria), but are still interested in finding efficient ways to provide calorie information to their customers. In particular, we have seen this interest focused on the salad bar and bakery sections of stores and the items that are customarily offered for sale in those sections. As a resource to members who are not covered and would like to provide calorie information (or for covered members who would like sample signage or are interested in labeling commonly sold items in a single sign format), FMI has created the following reference signs for popular salad bar, rotisserie and bakery items*

On the legislative front, FMI continues to support enactment of the House-passed Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act and other legislative efforts that would provide liability and enforcement protections for good-faith compliance efforts, preserve locally made and locally sourced foods, and provide other relief to covered establishments working hard to comply.

You can find our implementation guide and more resources at

*Disclaimer: This model salad bar signage is provided by the Food Marketing Institute as a service to its members, and does not constitute legal advice. FDA’s Menu Labeling Rule is complex such that legal advice and compliance are largely dependent on specifics of the individual food items. This sign is designed simply as a model or sample sign for FMI members.