People who want to eat whatever they want without getting a guilt trip from nutrition labels may soon have to hide out in front of food trucks.
Food trucks increasingly offer gourmet choices for lunch, and are rolling up to office buildings in major cities all over the country. And in a new rule published by the Food and Drug Administration, food trucks will have the added feature of not having to tell you how many calories you’re eating.
The FDA this week released two new rules that will require restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards. It will also require vending machines to post this information somewhere nearby, so people can see nutrition information on the items they buy before putting in their money and pressing buttons.
The changes are required by Obamacare, the broad health care law that took effect in 2010. According to the FDA, the rules are aimed at giving people more ways to monitor the kind of food they eat, and how much, so they can stay healthy.
“Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home and people today expect clear information about the products they consume,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “Making calorie information available on chain restaurant menus and vending machines is an important step for public health that will help consumers make informed choices for themselves and their families.”
The rules will apply to restaurants and other places that serve food if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations. It will hit sit-down restaurants, fast food and takeout places, delis and grocery stores, bakery and coffee shops, and even movie theaters and amusement parks that sell food.
Companies with more than 20 vending machines will also have to post calorie content signs nearby.
But food trucks are exempt. “Food trucks are not covered by the menu labeling requirements,” the FDA said in a information sheet about the rules.
FDA said covered businesses will have one year to comply with the labeling requirements. For vending machine operators, the rule will be enforced by contacting these operators directly in cases of non-compliance.
“Failure to comply with the rule will render covered vending machine food misbranded under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,” the FDA warned.
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