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prepared foodDid you know that the Affordable Care Act will require restaurants and similar retail food establishments – including supermarkets that sell prepared foods – to offer nutrition information? The mandatory date for compliance is now December 1, 2016.

This includes hot buffet food and food from your store’s salad bar, as well as self-service foods intended for individual consumption, sandwiches from the deli counter, pizza by the slice and things like bagels, donuts, muffins and rolls offered for individual sale. In short, any food that is eaten either on premise, while walking away or intended to be eaten shortly after purchase.

You may be working now to make certain that your chain is in compliance with these new regulations. From the 2015 SFH conference, here are some of the must-dos, as presented by Vestcom:

  • Establishments are permitted to declare calories either on a printed menu, on signs adjacent to the food, on a sign attached to a sneeze guard or on a single sign or place card.
  • The following statement must also be on all forms of menus or menu boards: Additional nutrition information available upon request.
  • These nutrients must be made available: total calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, fiber, sugars, protein.
  • You must add the following statement to help shoppers understand the context of calories in the daily diet: 2,000 calories a day is used as the basis for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.
  • Very Important! You must maintain documentation of the methodology used to determine nutrient content, as well and the recipe and ingredient information for each item. The FDA can ask your retailer to provide this information at any time in order to demonstrate compliance.

Check this blog space in the coming weeks for ideas on how to implement the new federal requirements into your store’s marketing and wellness plans.

For more detailed information on specific requirements, review the Vestcom presentation at www.shoppingforhealth.org/conferences/Napa2015.

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