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Breaking News- FDA releases proposed labeling requirements


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From the Vending Times:

WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration on April 1 issued two proposed regulations regarding calorie labeling on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants, retail food establishments and vending machines.

The proposed rules for vending machines were originally scheduled for release on March 23.

The menu-labeling rule proposed on April 1 applies to chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments. They call for listing calories in restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name and offering for sale substantially the same menu items.

A companion rule proposes calorie posting for food sold in vending machines.

The proposals have a 60-day comment period. The FDA said it hopes to issue the final rules by the end of 2011 and proposes they become effective six months later.

The administration wants vending companies that operate 20 or more machines to provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories contained in the article -- unless certain nutrition information is already visible on individual packages of food inside a machine.

Last fall, a notice published by the FDA in the Federal Register (Nov. 5, 2010) estimated that the vending industry will need to spend 14 million hours annually to comply with the calorie disclosure requirements inserted into the healthcare reform legislation passed early this year.The National Automatic Merchandising Association is lobbying Congress and the administration to rethink the effect of imposing new regulatory burdens unrelated to public safety and health on small business at a time when the economy is struggling to recover.

The FDA is also suggesting restaurants be required to include a reference point of appropriate caloric intake for consumers. Posting a phrase similar to: "A 2,000 calorie diet is used as the basis for general nutrition advice; however, individual calorie needs may vary," would "help the public understand the significance of the calorie information provided," the administration's proposal said.

Full nutritional information, such as fat, cholesterol and sodium content, would be available upon request under the FDA's proposal.

Many chain restaurants, especially in the fast-food sector, already post nutritional information in stores and online. However, most establishments in the casual and upscale dining sector do not, so the rules will likely hit them harder.

The FDA is recommending that establishments whose primary business is not to sell food, such as movie theaters, airplanes or bowling alleys, be excluded from the requirements.

Under the FDA rules, state and local governments will not have the authority to impose any different nutrition labeling requirements for food sold in restaurants and through vending machines covered by the federal requirements. It also said that restaurants, similar retail food establishments and vending machine operations that are not covered by the federal requirements could voluntarily register to be covered.

The FDA is accepting commentary on the proposed rules for vending machines and restaurants. Go to http://www.regulations.gov to submit a comment.

For more information on commenting, visit http://www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx.

Comment: At first glance, without having read the entire document the phrase, "unless certain nutrition information is already visible on individual packages of food inside a machine." MIGHT make the impact of this regulation minimal. With the new front of package labeling that the food manufacturers are implementing it seems that this will go a long way to satisfying the requirement.

I also like the part that state and local governments will not have the authority to impose different labeling requirements.

Please take the time and submit whatever comments you think are appropriate at the above link for comments.

Edited by mission vending
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I have said from the start and told NAMA that they need to lobby to make it the burden of the food and beverage producers. They change their packaging like the wind anyway with specials, holiday packaging, new designs, etc. It would be easy to require them to do it rather than small business owners like 99% of the vending companies in operation.

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Out of that whole article the part that scares me the most is the line

"It also said that restaurants, similar retail food establishments and vending machine operations that are not covered by the federal requirements could voluntarily register to be covered."

So we don't just have to comply with the guidelines, but we have to register that we are complying. I'm getting the Big Brother creeps!

JD

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So if I have 19 locations this won't apply to me?

As I understand it. Yes.

Of course you could, as coinvestor mentions, voluntarily sign yourself up for the oversight and meddling in you business :)

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So if I have 19 locations this won't apply to me?

It says 20 or more machines operated under the same name. Looks like its time to hold machines like real estate and setup separate LLCs with 19 machines in each :)

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It says 20 or more machines operated under the same name. Looks like its time to hold machines like real estate and setup separate LLCs with 19 machines in each :)

Not a bad idea...

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