CHICAGO, IL – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics strongly supports the Food and Drug Administration’s final menu labeling rules that will provide consumers with the information they need to make healthful decisions for themselves and their families.
This next step in the long-awaited implementation of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s national requirement for all restaurant-type chains of 20 or more establishments to clearly post the calorie information for each standard item on their menus or menu board. The final rule also adopts the Academy’s previously submitted comments to the FDA seeking a requirement for calorie counts of alcohol to be listed at restaurants.
The FDA’s menu labeling initiative has long been a strategic priority of the Academy. “We believe providing accurate, and tested information to a consumer educated in nutrition basics can have a powerful effect on food selection,” said Academy President Sonja L. Connor, MS, RDN, LD. “We strongly agree with the FDA’s decision to include calorie counts of alcohol in the final menu labeling requirements.”
In addition to restaurant chains, the final menu labeling requirements will also apply to restaurant-type establishments selling prepared foods for immediate consumption, such as movie theaters, bowling alleys, convenience stores and grocery stores and other establishments where Americans frequently eat.
For example, as grocery stores and supermarkets expand prepared foods offerings or eateries, shoppers who buy ready-to-eat foods from these locations may benefit from knowing the calorie content of their selections.
“Even savvy consumers can be confused about calorie counts,” said Connor. “This ruling could greatly impact the health of Americans, who consume about one-third of their total calories and spend half of their food budget eating away from home, whether at restaurants, grocery stores or entertainment venues.”
“Menu labeling is an important step forward in helping address our obesity epidemic,” Connor said. “These initiatives are supported by legitimate research, but to be truly effective must include nutrition education and policy evaluation, and ensure calorie counts are accurate. Context and education are critical to making menu labeling a meaningful tool for consumers.”
All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy’s Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use “registered dietitian nutritionist” (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org