Stakeholders in the restaurant industry have until September to submit their comments on upcoming menu nutrition labeling legislation to the Food and Drug Administration.

Nutrition labeling regulators seek comment

The FDA’s open comment period for the law started July 7 and is set to close Sept. 7. It is required to issue proposed regulations by March 23, 2011.

Nutrition labeling was signed into federal law March 23, included in Section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act, which

According to the FDA request for comments, “While various approaches to menu labeling in chain restaurants have been tried, several stakeholders ultimately sought a national approach that would ensure nationwide uniformity, better protections, and flexibility in how additional nutrition information is provided.”

The hope with the new law is that it will allow U.S. consumers to make more informed nutrition decisions, therefore encouraging them to make healthier choices.

What is already known is that restaurants with more than 20 units and constant menu items will be required to post calorie content on menu boards, including drive-through menu boards, as well as have additional nutrition information available upon request.

The unknowns include how varieties and combo meals will be handled, how accurate the information will have to be, what will be required on marketing materials and how extensive the information required will go.

Nutrition labeling requirements will also apply to coffee shops, delis, movie theaters, bakeries, ice cream shops, and in vending machines.

The docket is available at by choosing “submit a comment” from the top task bar and entering docket number FDA-2010-N-0298.

Comments can also be mailed to The Division of Dockets Management, HFA-305, Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD, 20852.