Update on FDA Menu Labeling Requirements
Effective in May of 2017 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will require chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations to provide calorie and other nutritional information on menus and menu boards. The Brewers Association (BA) has been working closely with the FDA’s Office of Nutrition and Labeling to discuss how small breweries can affordably comply with this regulation.
In an effort to streamline compliance for small and medium sized breweries, the BA is in the process of conducting robust analytical testing of beers by styles and working to build a database for the nutrients in these styles based on average analysis. Brewers would need to provide their own data for two categories only: calories and carbohydrates. This approach would be workable for beers without post-fermentation additives.
Down the road, the BA is discussing launching an analysis program for each constituent ingredient in beer, developing nutritional levels for each common ingredient and plugging this data into a recipe calculator. This would be a long-term solution for breweries in California but would not be available this year for breweries that need to assist large scale restaurant accounts to comply with the regulation.
This collaborative approach between the BA and the FDA should remove the necessity for each brewer to send their beers to a lab for testing, saving time and money for breweries across the U.S.
More information from the BA can be found online here. We will continue to update CCBA members as more information is released.