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New Menu Labeling Requirements: Academy Advocacy Expands Opportunities

Published:April 21, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.03.005
      In addition to the sweeping changes to health insurance costs and coverage ushered in by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the law mandated a substantial increase in the national availability of nutrition information. Section 4205 of the bill established a requirement for restaurants and fast-food chains with more than 20 locations to list the calorie counts of standard items on menus and menu boards, and to provide more comprehensive nutrition information upon request. This federal mandate superseded various previously enacted state and local regulations and brought uniformity to displays of nutrition information for restaurants and similar establishments. The nationwide requirement represents a significant accomplishment for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ advocacy efforts on behalf of registered dietetian nutritionists (RDNs) in the United States, as they “worked with congressional staff members and other key stakeholders [to help] craft … the portion of the bill that ultimately became Section 4205 … in language that [the Academy] supports.”
      • Stein K.
      A national approach to restaurant menu labeling: The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, Section 4205.
      Additional information regarding the passage of the ACA, the Academy’s role in that process, and reactions to the legislation can be found in the May 2011 supplement to the Journal.
      • Stein K.
      A national approach to restaurant menu labeling: The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, Section 4205.
      • Marr L.
      National Restaurant menu labeling legislation: Public nutrition education and professional opportunities.
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      References

        • Stein K.
        A national approach to restaurant menu labeling: The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, Section 4205.
        J Acad Nutr Diet. 2011; 111: S19-S27
        • Marr L.
        National Restaurant menu labeling legislation: Public nutrition education and professional opportunities.
        J Acad Nutr Diet. 2011; 111: S7
      1. Rethink your drink. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html. Accessed January 15, 2015.

      2. Questions and answers on the menu and vending machines nutrition labeling requirements. US Food and Drug Administration. www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm248731.htm. Accessed January 15, 2015.