Menu Regulation


Under the ACA (Affordable Care Act), there are new requirements for restaurants and other retail food establishments to provide specific nutritional information. The basic requirements for menu items are displayed calorie counts and access to additional nutritional info upon request. The final menu label regulations were published in May of 2016 with the compliance date being extended until May 7th, 2018.

Do I have to comply to new regulations?

The new regulation applies to restaurants or retail food establishments which consist of 20 or more locations with the same name, offering the same menu items, and selling ready to eat foods. Different ownership of these type of stores does not factor into compliance. If all 20 stores are privately owned, they still may have to comply. You can also choose to voluntarily offer this information. If you are a covered establishment then you must make nutritional information available on standard menu items.

Standard Menu Items

A standard menu item is defined as a restaurant type food that is routinely included on a menu.


  • Standard meal from a full service restaurant
  • Standard snack or drink from a coffee shop or bakery
  • Food purchased at a drive thru window
  • Take out or delivery food
  • Made to order meals like burrito bowls and sandwiches
  • Self serve food from a salad bar
  • Alcoholic beverages that are standard menu items

Exempt items

  • Condiments for general use
  • Special menu items that are offered for 60 days or less per year
  • Custom orders
  • Test items, items that are on the menu for fewer than 90 consecutive days to test consumer acceptance
  • Beverages (including alcoholic) that are prepared but not on the menu

Required Nutritional Information


You must display the number of calories in each standard menu item listed on the menu or menu board. For standard menu items that have variable options, you must declare both options or you must list the calorie range if there are more than 2 options.

Calories must be posted clearly next to the item they represent. The font size and color must be the same as the menu item or price and at least the same size or bigger than the font size for the price.

Calorie Statement

Along with calories, you must list the FDAs “calorie statement” somewhere near the bottom of your menu. The statement must read “A 2,000 calorie daily diet is used as the basis for general nutrition advice: however, individual calorie needs may vary”.

Additional Nutritional Information

Caloric information must be on menus, but additional information must be readily available via print or electronic form. Those additional categories must include:

  • Calories from fat
  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Total Carbohydrate
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Sugars
  • Protein

What Next?

  1. Determine whether your establishment must comply or if your establishment will voluntarily comply.
  2. Determine which items are standard menu items that need to be analyzed.
  3. Contact FAD CALC for nutritional analysis at
  4. Update menus and other promotional materials.
  5. Continually update as you add new standard menu items.

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