As required by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants, similar retail food establishments, and vending machines with 20 or more locations.

This new labeling rule applies to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain with 20 or more locations, conducting business under the same name, and selling substantially the same menu items. For standard items, the calorie information must be displayed clearly next to the name or price of the item on menus and menu boards. Seasonal menu items, daily specials, and condiments for general use are exempt from these requirements.

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The final labeling rule also applies to certain alcoholic beverages served in covered food establishments and listed on the menu, as well as food facilities in entertainment venue chains (eg, movie theaters, amusement parks). Upon consumer request, the food establishments are required to provide written nutrition information about total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, and protein.

Affected restaurants and similar retail food establishments will have one year to comply with the menu labeling requirements. Vending machine operators will have two years to comply with the new requirements.

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