In 2010, as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, and offering for sale substantially the same menu items, are required to provide calorie information for standard menu items (including food on display for standard self-service food) and provide, upon request, additional written nutrition information for standard menu items.

On December 30, 2016, the final ruling was published for the compliance date to be effective May 5, 2107. The law for the pizza industry presents several complicated issues from topping variables, reduction of topping volume with multiple toppings on a pizza to reporting accurate slice portions as declared on the nutrition label. The information below is a general guideline focused primarily towards some of the pizza industry compliances. Additional in-depth information on the compliance guidelines can be found here

FDA Menu Labeling Guidelines For The Pizza Industry At A Glance

Establishments Needed To Comply

Restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are a chain or that are a part of a chain with 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, and offering for sale substantially the same menu items.

Menu Nutrition Labeling Requirements

In general, covered establishments must provide the following nutritional information

  1. The number of calories that are contained in a standard menu item listed on a menu or menu board.
  2. The number of calories contained in a standard menu item that is a self-service food or on display on a sign adjacent to such food.
  3. Succinct statement: 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutritional advice, but calories may vary
  4. A statement regarding the availability of additional written nutritional information

Exempt Foods:

  1. Temporary menu items, daily specials, and custom orders
  2. Daily specials
  3. Custom orders
  4. Food that is part of a customary market test
  5. Self-service food and food on display that is offered for sale less than a total of 60 days

Qualifying Factors That Define Menus And Menu Boards

  1. Lists the name of standard menu item or an image depicting the standard menu item
  2. The price of the standard menu item
  3. The writing can be used by a customer to make an order selection at the time the customer is viewing the writing

Examples Of Menus

  1. Booklets
  2. Pamphlets
  3. Single sheets of papers – Including coupons

Example of Menu Boards

  1. Mounted or free standing panels inside and outside a covered establishment
  2. Located in the counter service area or drive-in or drive-through service

Declaration of Pizza Calories On The Menu or Menu Board

Calories must be declared for the whole pizza menu item as usually prepared and offered for sale (e.g., “pizza pie 1,600 cal”) or per discrete serving unit if the unit and total number of units contained in the menu item is usually prepared and offered for sale divided into these units (e.g., “pizza pie 200 cal/slice, 8 slices”)

Declaration Of Calories On Menu Or Menu Board For Pizza

Calories must be declared for the whole menu item as usually prepared and offered for sale (e.g. “pizza Pie 1,600 cal”) or per discrete serving unit (e.g., individual pre-portioned units such as pizza slices) and total number of units contained in the menu item are declared and the menu item is usually prepared and offered for sale divided into these discrete units (e.g., pizza pie 200 cal/slice, 8 slices”)

The calorie and nutrient declarations for standard menu items must be accurate and consistent with the nutrient values that have been determined using a reasonable basis (that is, the types and amounts of ingredients is used, the cooking process, temperatures, etc.) and how the menu items are served (that is, the amounts of that item that are offered for sale in a typical serving) are the same as those used to determine the calorie and nutrient declarations

Pizza Calories

Examples Of Improper Declaration Of Calories And Nutrient Reporting

The picture was taken from a national pizza buffet chain in Akron, Ohio. Slices are not equal at the buffet line. The advertised nutrient information posted on this buffet chain’s website does not come close to accurately representing slices of pizza being passed out to their customer’s. No longer will the costly process of paying to analyze the nutrient content be needed to show proof of improper portioning and non-compliance violations. When the nutrition serving size is based per each slice, taking pictures of poorly cut slices of pizza will be an easy and low-cost way to provide evidence when filling a non-compliance complaint to the FDA.

Examples Of Improper Declaration Of Calories And Nutrient Reporting

This picture was taken from a hospital cafeteria in Ohio managed by a large foodservice management company. The hospital was not advised by the foodservice management company of the importance of cutting the pizzas equally for their customers, their own employees and hospital guests, so they receive an accurate number of calories and nutrients per slice as advertised on the foodservice management’s nutritional information board.

Pizza

Nutrition Facts

Examples Of Improper Declaration Of Calories And Nutrient Reporting

This retail chain of over 5,200 locations takes first prize for lack of compliance comprehension and basic common sense. Not only are the slices cut unequally, the Nutrition Facts label is advertised on the bottom of their pizza box. The FDA’s current laws require the label to be displayed in a conspicuous location so the consumer can read the Nutrition Facts label. The bottom of a freshly made pizza is the last place the consumer would think to look for the nutrient information. Based on current FDA requirements this chain and every location that sells pizzas in this pizza box are potentially in non-compliance. I addition, at least fifteen locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and California were contacted and verified that they cut their pizzas into 8 slices. The Nutrition Facts label states the serving size to be 1/6 of the pizza as well as the servings per container 6. Their pizzas, based on the advertised Nutrition Facts should be cut into 6 equal slices.

Reporting Calories For Pizzas Ordered With Multiple Toppings When Less Of each Topping Are Used

If the amount of topping included on the basic preparation of a menu item decreases based on the total number of toppings ordered for the menu item, the number of calories for each topping must be declared a single values representing the number of calorie for each topping when added to a single topping menu item, specifying that the calorie declaration is for the topping when added to a single topping menu item, such as “pepperoni 200 added calories for a one-topping pizza.”

Succinct Statement And Statement Of Availability Of Additional Written Nutrition Information

The succinct statement is designed to enable consumers to understand the significance of the calorie information provided on menus and menu boards in the context of a total daily diet.

The following succinct statement must be provided on menus and menu boards:
“2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary”

Statement of availability of additional written nutritional information for menus must appear on the bottom of the first page with menu items. For menu boards, the statement of availability must be placed immediately above, below or beside the succinct statement. For each regular menu item, the following nutrients must be listed in the order specified below, using the measurements specified,

Total calories (cal)
Calories from fat (fat cal)
Total fat (g)
Saturated fat (g)
Trans fat (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
Total carbohydrate (g)
Dietary fiber (g)

Corporate and Chain Location Statement Of Declarations

Upon request, the corporate headquarters or parent entity, as well as each chain location must provide the FDA upon request any other information pertinent to the determination of the nutrient values for each standard menu items. The statement must include the following

  1. Statement that is signed and dated by a responsible individual who is employed at the covered establishment, its corporate headquarters, or parent entity who can verify that the information in the nutrient analysis is complete and accurate.
  2. A statement that is signed and dated by a responsible individual employed at the covered establishment (such as, the manager of the establishment or someone designated by the establishment manager or owner that is also employed at the specific covered establishment) certifying that the covered establishment has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the method of preparation (such as the types and amounts of ingredients used, the recipe, and the cooking times and temperatures) and the amount of the standard menu item offered for sale are the same as that on which the nutrient values were determined. For example, such a statement could read “I, (name of the responsible individual), certify that (name of the covered establishment) has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the recipe for (name(s) of standard menu item) that was used to determine the calorie declaration and other nutrient values was followed to prepare (name(s) of standard menu item). The ingredients were properly measured, the specified cook times and temperatures were followed, and the specified portion sizes were served to the customer.” Any other statement or format that includes the required information in 21 CFR 101.11(c)(3)(i)(G) would also be acceptable.

Misbranding

A standard menu item offered for sale in a covered establishment is deemed misbranded under sections 201(n), 403(a), 403(f) and/or 403(q) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act if its label or labeling is not in conformity with 21 CFR 101.11(b) or (c).

(21 CFR 101.11(f))
Penalties for misbranding food are established in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and violations of 21 CFR 101.11 may result in enforcement action consistent with those penalties. For example, introducing, delivering for introduction, or receiving a misbranded food in interstate commerce, or misbranding a food while it is in interstate commerce or being held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce, are prohibited acts under section 301 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 331), carrying criminal penalties under section 303 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 333). In addition, under section 302 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 332), the United States can bring a civil action in Federal court to enjoin a person who commits a prohibited action. Under section 304(a)(1) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 334(a)(1)), a food that is misbranded when introduced into or while in interstate commerce or while held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce may be seized by order of a Federal court.

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