The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released draft and final guidance to assist restaurateurs and vending machine operators in implementing the labeling provisions set out in section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The Act requires food retail establishments with 20 or more locations to post the calorie content for standard items on menus and menu boards; provide additional nutrition information in writing; and post calorie information for self-serve items and foods on display. The draft document offers proposed guidance on the execution of these standards, while the final explains the impact of the federal measure on state and local laws.

According to an August 24, 2010, FDA press release, the agency “realizes that industry may need additional information and time to comply with the new provisions, and that the agency expects to refrain from enforcement action for a time period that will be provided in the guidance once it is finalized.” FDA will accept comments on this timeline and the draft guidance until October 12, 2010. See Federal Register, August 25, 2010.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.