Howard Company News

Nov 15, 2018 4:48:34 AM | by Admin

Menu & Calorie Labeling Law

Menu Boards: Calorie Counts/Menu Labeling



A modified nutrition labeling directive passed the House of Representatives this week. It will be presented to the rest of the committees and Senate soon. Changes include amending in-store posting of nutritional information to be an on-line application. Read more here...


UPDATE JUNE 15, 2017

Yet another nutrition labeling mandate has been delayed by the FDA. According to MarketWatch and other online sources, Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration postponed the July 2018 deadline for the Nutrition Facts Labeling mandate in response to "numerous stakeholders" requesting more time. No new deadline was announced; however, a May 2021 deadline was suggested by industry groups. (Excerpt from FastCasual web article) Read more here


UPDATE MAY 5, 2016

FDA releases the publication of its final guidance on menu labeling, "A Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments Selling Away-From-Home Foods - Part II (Menu Labeling Requirements in Accordance with 21 CFR 101.11) (Please click on the link to go to the FDA official notification website, and to read specifics to see how it might apply to your restaurant or foodservice operation.)

As part of its announcement, the FDA reassured covered establishments that it “is committed to working flexibly and cooperatively with establishments covered by the menu labeling final rule and to providing educational and technical assistance for state, local, and tribal regulatory partners to support consistent compliance nationwide.”  As part of this promise, the FDA has committed to offering webinars and menu labeling workshops to help restaurants and other businesses comply. (Excerpt from Restaurant



Excerpt from Nation’s Restaurant News website (

FDA postpones menu-labeling enforcement

Agency pushes back enforcement at least a year, after Congress requires delay

Jonathan Maze – March 10, 2016


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has officially delayed enforcement of new menu labeling rules, after Congress included a delay in a spending bill in December.

In a statement on Wednesday, Dr. Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’S Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said that the agency would delay enforcement until one year after it issues its final guidance on the rules.

It is uncertain when that guidance will be issued, though an agency spokeswoman said Thursday that it’s expected to be published sometime this year.

The rule, which requires restaurants, grocery stores, delis and convenience stores that sell prepared food to publish calorie counts on menus, was set to be enforced on December 1, 2016.

But Congress axed that date in a spending bill passed in December, and gave no date for enforcement.

The FDA’s announcement brings at least some certainty to the often-delayed rules over menu labeling.

The law has the backing of the restaurant industry, which had pushed for a federal labeling standard as opposed to a smorgasbord of laws in states and localities across the country. The federal law also includes retailers that sell prepared food, which compete directly with restauranteurs.

The law had initially been passed in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. But the rules, the required guidance and the enforcement have been delayed several times over the years.

The rules were published in 2014 but the agency also must publish formalized guidance that helps show companies how to comply with the law.

The rules could also get a Congressional-driven change. The House in February approved a bill that would give restaurants and grocers more flexibility in how they label the calorie counts on menus, while also enabling to-go restaurants like pizza chains the ability to post calories on smartphone apps.

That bill, which has yet to pass the Senate and get a presidential signature, also includes some lawsuit protections and provides flexibility for posting the calories of customized options.

Clarification: March 11, 2016 This article has been changed to clarify the FDA will release guidance on the menu labeling rules, but the timing of the action is uncertain.


UPDATE (June 19, 2015)
Menu Labeling Delay Included in House Spending Bill: Read more here...

BROOKFIELD, Wis. (April 9, 2010)

The Health Care Reform Act of 2010 will require the inclusion of calorie information on all menu boards for restaurants with 20 or more locations, regardless of ownership.

Exact details of the regulations will not be defined until the FDA determines standards in the next year as per their notification:

Compliance with the new law will not be required until the Food and Drug Administration completes the implementing regulations. Under the terms of the new law, the FDA is required to publish proposed regulations within one year of the measure's March 23, 2010, enactment date.(National Restaurant Association)

Revamping one’s menu board design to include calorie count information can be either difficult or relatively painless depending upon the amount of detail desired on the board. The changes required by the new law present an opportunity to review pricing, menu items offered and size portions.

“Mainstreet Menu Systems will offer many solutions to the new law,” says Howard Company V-P of sales, Doug Watson. “Whether your restaurant chain is using static menu boards, has a drive-thru menu board or is thinking of a digital menu board, Mainstreet Menus will be prepared to design and produce solutions for every restaurant chain. 

“The Howard Company/Mainstreet Menu Systems offer an extensive array of products and services including 1) adding calorie information on slats or strips, 2) providing the calorie information on pictures and translites or 3) moving to a digital menu board solution.”

Mainstreet Menu Systems has implemented a ‘variable data printing service’ with over 20 customized websites for its customers in the past year. This may be an ideal tool for many chain operations that use mostly pictures or translites or a combination of pictures and slats.

“We’ve made the process simple for many chain customers,” says Howard Company Marketing Manager, Dawn Pankow. “We establish a unique website page for a chain, where a franchisee can view the graphic options for his location which will include the calorie counts for the chains products. The owner/manager types in the prices or product options for his distinct location and Mainstreet ships the new items direct to the location. A variety of payment options for the store visitor are offered at the time of ordering.”

As soon as the details from FDA are defined Mainstreet Menu Systems will begin design assistance to chains for compliance with the law. The technology implemented in the past year through “chain specific web stores for menu boards” and “Variable Data Printing” will be huge to many chain customers of Mainstreet Menu Systems and The Howard Company.

Call or e-mail Mainstreet Menu Systems at

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