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Environmental Health - Menu Labeling

What You Need to Know to Comply with MC Code Chapter 15 - Nutrition Labeling Law

What Is Montgomery County's menu labeling law?
The Montgomery County Council, acting as the Board of health, adopted Resolution 16-1194 (Montgomery County Code Chapter 15, Section 15-15a) which requires an eating and drinking establishment to post nutritional information for any standardized menu item by July 1, 2010.  Regulation 7-10 identifies the criteria for complying with Resolution 16-1194.  Click here for a copy of the Resolution.

When must an establishment comply with the Resolution?
An establishment must submit to Licensure & Regulatory Services, no later than September 15, 2010, a written implementation plan indicating when compliance is expected to be achieved.  Compliance is mandatory no later than January 1, 2011.

What establishments must comply with the law?
Any eating or drinking establishment located in Montgomery County that is part of a chain with at least 20 locations in the United States offering substantially the same menu items and doing business under the same trade name, regardless of individual ownership.

What establishments are exempt from the law?
Grocery stores, convenience stores and movie theaters.

What is a standard menu item?
A standard menu item is a food or drink item as usually prepared and offered for sale.  A standardized menu item does NOT include food or drink that:

 

What food items are exempt from the law?
Condiments, garnishes and self-service commercially packaged items that already contain the complete nutritional labeling.

What is a "menu" or "menu board"?
A "menu" or "menu board" is the primary writing of an eating and drinking establishment from which a consumer makes an order selection.  This includes menus or menu boards posted at a drive-thru, on a children's placemat, for delivery or carryout, or as a table tent at a bar or on a dining table.  Menus mailed or dropped off to a business or private residence must also comply with the law.  Advertisements such as coupons and window posters are not included.

What information must be posted on each menu or menu board?

 

What additional nutrition information must be available in writing?
Calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates,  sugars,  fiber and protein must be provided per serving or, when the menu item is offered as a single unit (such as a bagel or muffin), per menu item from a self service unit or display case.

Does the law allow for rounding the amount of calories and additional nutrition information?
Yes, in accordance with the menu labeling regulations.  Refer to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Titles 9 and 21 for additional information on rounding nutritional values.

What is the required font size for the number of calories or the required statements?
The printing must be clear and conspicuous to the consumer, such that a person may read the information when standing at the ordering counter or from the menu or food tag.  The information must be easily located on the menu, menu board, self-service unit or display case and clearly associated with that menu item.

Can an eating and drinking establishments use an abbreviation for the word "calorie" or for the additional nutrition information?
;An eating or drinking establishment may propose an alternative designation for the term "calorie" or for any other term in the additional nutrition information.

Is an eating and drinking establishment required to provide the number of calories for items that accompany a sandwich (such as chips, pickles or cheese) and are printed on a menu or menu board?
Yes, if the item is listed separately on the menu or menu board and is not presented to the consumer in an original commercial package with the federally required nutrition information provided.

What are the requirements for buffets, salad bars, cafeteria lines, beverage stations or similar self-service operations?
The number of calories per serving or per item must be posted on a food tag adjacent to each food or drink offered for sale, unless the information is provided on a menu or menu board.  If the menu item is not listed on a menu or menu board, the two required statements must be posted at the cafeteria line, self-service unit or display case.

What about menu items that may have a range of calories based on a consumer's choice of flavor or variety?
If the item is listed as a single menu item, post the minimum and maximum range of calories for each size offered (for example:  "Build your own burrito.  Choose from chicken, steak, pork or veggies.  Add rice with red or black beans, all for $6.99 (310-600 cal.)").  The minimum and maximum values of the additional nutrition information must be available in writing upon request for each flavor or variety of that item.  If the menu item lists the different flavors or varieties separately (for example, "add cheese for $1.00"), the number of calories must be listed separately next to the flavor or variety.

Can a medium caloric value be posted instead of a minimum and maximum range?
The minimum and maximum caloric range must be posted for menu items that offer differing flavors or varieties.  Each size offering must have a calorie count or the minimum and maximum range posted.

Does the law apply to alcoholic beverages?
Yes, if the beverage is listed on a menu or menu board.  The following average nutritional values shall be used:

 

What if the menu item is listed and served as a combination of different food items such as an appetizer sampler, sandwich meal or combination meal?
Post the minimum and maximum range of calories for all combinations of that menu item next to the item on the menu or menu board (for example, "choose two from the following list").  If the menu item is presented to the consumer as it is listed on the menu or menu board without a choice of flavors or variety, then the total number of calories must be posted next to the menu item (for example, "The appetizer sampler platter includes mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings and fried onions all for $10.00 (610 calories)").;

How should I calculate the calorie and other nutrition content of a standardized menu item?
Calories must be posted for each standardized menu item as it is listed on a menu or menu board.

What will happen if I do not comply with the menu labeling law?

 

Why is the menu labeling law necessary?

 

Who should I contact for additional information?
Contact the Office of Licensure & Regulatory Services (Department of Health and Human Services) at 240-777-3986 during business hours (Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or by email to licregmail@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Sample Menus:

Menu

TASTES GREAT DELI
SUBS
Pick your bread / Pick your meat / Pick your cheese
Whole - $7.95 (540 - 1680 cal) Half - $5.50 (270 - 840 cal)
(all subs are topped with lettuce and tomato)
 
MEAT
Roast Beef Ham   Veggie Turkey Breast
Tuna Salad Chicken Salad Italian Cold Cut
Grilled Chicken: add $1.00 (150 cal) Bacon: add $1.00 (136 cal)
 
CHEESE
Provolone Swiss American Cheddar
 
SOUPS
     Bowl - $3.99 (100 - 225 cal) Cup - $3.50 (125 - 301 cal)
Chicken Noodle Tomato   Cheddar Broccoli Minestrone  
 
SALADS
Small - $6.99 (311 - 635 cal) Large - $8.99 (611 - 935 cal)
Garden Grilled Chicken Crispy Chicken Grilled Steak
Served with a roll and your choice of dressing
(Italian, Ranch, Caesar, Honey Mustard, Vinaigrette)
 
Please see your server for additional nutrition information.
A 2,000 Calorie daily diet is used as the basis for general nutrition advice.
Visit http://myplate.gov for more information.

MENU BOARD

BREAKFAST: Price Calorie
Egg Sandwich $3.00 655 C
Egg, Sausage and Cheese Sandwich $4.50 560 C
Scrambled Egg / with Cheese $3.00/$4.00 85 / 185 C
Home Fries $3.00 680 C
Toast (White, Wheat, or Rye) $1.50 95 - 105 C
Bagel / with Cream Cheese $1.50/$2.50 132 / 184 C
LUNCH:    
Hamburger / Cheeseburger $5.00/$6.00 540 / 650 C
Grilled Chicken Sub $6.50 530 C
Grilled Cheese Sandwich $4.00 350 C
Turkey Sandwich $4.50 260 C
Roast Beef Sandwich $5.00 375 C
Tuna Salad Sandwich $4.50 465 C
Chicken Salad Sandwich $5.00 490 C
Egg Salad Sandwich $4.50 650 C
French Fries $2.50 315 C
Fried Chicken Tenders $4.00 275 C
     
Bottled Drink $1.50  
Bag of Chips $1.00  
     
Additional nutrition information is available upon request.

A 2,000 Calorie daily diet is used as the basis for
general nutrition advice. Individual caloric needs may vary.
Visit http://myplate.gov for more information.