By: Dana Graber, Regulatory Counsel, Food Marketing Institute

20171205-FMI-Store Shoot-0426_edFood retailers have long supported transparency, and work hard to provide customers with the information they want in order to make informed purchasing decisions. As we know, the implementation of U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) menu labeling rule originally drafted for chain restaurants resulted in significant implementation challenges when applied in grocery store settings. As a trusted ally to shoppers, the food retail industry wants nothing more than to provide their customers with the nutritional information they desire in order to make choices for their health and their families. 

To ensure you have all available FMI compliance resources for the menu labeling rule that requires grocery stores with 20 or more locations to provide calorie counts (and nutritional information upon request) for “restaurant-type foods” beginning May 7, here are additional resources: 

  1. FMI Implementation Guide:  This guide has been reviewed by FDA, and provides a more simplistic explanation of the rule and its requirements. Find the FMI implementation guide and more resources at https://www.fmi.org/industry-topics/labeling/menu-labeling

     

  2. FMI Webinar and Slides:  On April 19th, FMI's Chief Regulatory Officer, Stephanie Barnes, conducted a webinar to explain the requirements of the rule and answer questions to help members successfully implement its requirements in their stores.  A link to the webinar recording and materials can be found here.

     

  3. FMI Nutritional Information Signage: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.  These also serve as a way to highlight the many items you offer that are 100 calories or less.
  4. Tips for Menu Labeling Rule Compliance: If a state or local official enters a store to enforce the menu labeling rule, we recommend of course that you be courteous, but also to document both their identification and the information they are requesting, and to share it with FMI as soon as possible.  FDA has indicated to FMI that the Agency plans to educate rather than enforce in the early months; however, state and local officials have not received standardized training or criteria on enforcing the requirements.  We plan to make FDA and Congress aware of any enforcement prior to the conclusion of this “education period” and provide our legal team to help with any challenges you face.

For more information on menu labeling, visit FMI.org/Menu-Labeling

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