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Nutritional Disclosure Requirements - FDA Guidance Offers Food Providers Chance to Weigh In

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Nutritional Disclosure Requirements - FDA Guidance Offers Food Providers Chance to Weigh In

Published: October 20, 2010

Getting sound nutritional information into the ha­­nds of consumers before they pick up their knife and fork is the recipe for healthy eating. Tha;s the thinking behind the United States Food and Drug Administratio-s (FDA) recent guidance to food providers.

Since the 1980s, research shows a dramatic decline in American- daily physical activity. Lack of activity, combined with increased calories in our food supply and consumer consumption choices have made obesity one of Americ's top health crises. The FDA is offering food providers an opportunity to take a proactive and potentially heroic role in helping to solve the growing obesity problem in America. This overview will help you understand the FDA guidance as well as your state and federal responsibilities, and how you can play a part in addressing the growing obesity problem in America.

Understanding the FDA Guidelines

The guidance comes as part of President Obam's recent healthcare reform, and encourages food providers - including chain restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores, bakeries, vending machine operators, and others - with more than 20 locations to post:

  • Calorie information adjacent to each item on a menu
  • Percentage each item represents of the recommended daily caloric intake
  • A statement on how consumers can find out more nutritional information.

Currently, the FDA considers their guidance for food providers as a suggested recommendation, rather than a requirement. The FDA anticipates issuing final guidance in December 2010.
Although the FDA has't released the final guidance on disclosing nutritional information yet, over twenty states have already begun incorporating requirements' with California as the first state to pass a law and New York*, the first city. If you are unsure if your state or city has adopted such provisions, contact your State Health Department.

Share Your Thoughts and Feedback

The FDA has distributed the guidance in draft form in the hopes of receiving feedback and questions from the food production industry. To provide your comments to the FDA before they begin working on their final version:

  • Submit feedback electronically at www.regulations.gov
  • Send written comments to the Division of Dockets Management, Food and Drug Administration (HFA-305), 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
  • Contact the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at 301-436-2371.

Notice: All comments are due on or before October 10, 2010.

The obesity problem in America has become a crisis. The FDA guidance offers you a chance to be part of the solution. As a food provider, consider the positive impact you could have' and the goodwill it would build' if you took the FDA guidance to heart and began educating the consumers who buy your products or eat in your restaurants.

Related Resources

*hyperlink directs user to a non-government website

About the Author:

Sarah Millican
I'm a digital strategy consultant with ENC Strategy (www.encstrategy.com) and work full-time to support the Small Business Administration in growing and developing this online community to the best that it can be.


This is a good article, but I am confused as to whether this refers to the legislation on healthcare that passed congress a year ago, or the FDA overhaul that just passed in the past few weeks.----Recipe Club ---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.

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