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Volume 11, Number 5 - May 2010


Hello from Food Label News. The buzz in the industry is about what impact health care reform will have on food labeling. In this issue we highlight the implications for restaurants, vending machine operators and retail food establishments. You can count on us as your partner to prepare for the coming changes.

In this issue you'll find:

Karen C. Duester, President


"I love the information in your newsletter - I pass it on to my clients."

– Camille Hendsbee, 
Megna Nutrition Associates


Health Care Reform Puts the Spotlight on Restaurant Menus

As the government seeks to improve health care, a national requirement to help consumers make better food choices is now law. Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (which amends the FD&C Act) requires that restaurants and food service operations provide nutrition information for all standard menu items. Highlights include:

  • FDA has until March 23, 2011, to issue a proposed rule. A comment period will follow.

  • After the final rule is published, compliance is likely to be within six months.

  • The law applies to restaurants with 20+ locations with the same name (regardless of ownership) that offer "substantially the same" menu items.

  • It also applies to vending machine operators and "retail food establishments" which may include food service facilities in hospitals and schools, convenience stores and mobile carts.

  • Calories must be disclosed next to standard menu items on printed menus, boards and drive-thrus, along with a statement about suggested daily caloric intake.

  • Additional nutrition information must be available upon request, including calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber and protein. The law allows FDA to include additional required nutrients; trans fat is likely to be added to the list.

  • Daily specials, custom orders and test market items are exempt.

Keeping You Current

Semiannual Regulatory Agendas for U.S. Government Agencies published in April 26th Federal Register

FDA seeks information on ways to enhance consumer’s usefulness of shelf tags and front-of-pack labeling

Presentations from April 9th public meeting for front-of-pack labeling now available on Institute of Medicine website

Institute of Medicine releases consensus report entitled "Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States"

FDA issues a statement related to the Institute of Medicine’s sodium report

Institute of Food Technologists issues a press release to support FDA efforts to reduce salt consumption in the U.S.

American Society for Nutrition newsletter gives clues on what the 2010 Dietary Guidelines might say

HHS Inspector General report identifies weaknesses in FDA inspections of domestic food facilities

Helpful handout on Food Labeling


Consumers want information that will help them make smart food choices. Food Consulting Company embraces this nationwide unified standard that eliminates the proliferation of state and local regulations that have been challenging for restaurants. We applaud the many companies that already provide this important information for consumers.

Structure/Function Claims on Food Labels:
Instructional Series Part 9 of 10

This month's installment in our ten-part series describes the use of structure/function claims on food labels. This 10-part instructional series is based on a 2009 publication titled "Silliker Nutrient and Health Claims U.S. Regulatory Guide" that was cooperatively developed by Food Consulting Company and Silliker, Inc., a leading provider of laboratory nutrition analysis. 

View/print Part 9 of the series.


Structure/function claims describe the role of a nutrient or functional component in affecting or maintaining normal structure, function or general well-being. These claims are not to be confused with health claims that describe the ability of the nutrient or functional component to reduce the risk of disease. See Part 8 for discussion on health claims.

If you missed earlier parts of the series you can view and download them now. (Get Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.) The pages from all parts will add up to the complete booklet.

Reader Q&A

Find answers to our readers' questions or send us your question for an upcoming issue.


Can you reference me to the section of the CFR that deals with synthetic and/or artificial substances that are exempt in trace amounts as food processing aids? Also include information on secondary synthetics (synthetic and/or artificial substances that are exempt due to being ingredients in ingredients)?
M.S., Consulting Company, Minnesota


Ingredient exemption information can be found in 21 CFR 101.100 - Food; exemptions from labeling. Read more.

At Your Service

Food Consulting Company, founded in 1993, provides nutrition analysis, food labeling and regulatory support to ensure 100% compliance with FDA regulations. With over 1,000 clients worldwide, Food Consulting Company's services are ideal for start-up and established food manufacturers, distributors, food importers, brokers, and restaurateurs. Contact Us for more information about your food labeling needs.

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