Menu-labeling rules—are you ready?

Dec. 1 is looming large on the calendars of many restaurateurs. That’s the date the Food and Drug Administration’s new food-labeling rules go into effect as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Though operators may be scrambling with slightly more than six months left to get their information in order, “I think we need to embrace it, and not be defensive around this,” G.J. Hart, CEO of California Pizza Kitchen, said at the National Restaurant Association Show.

So how prepared are you? Take our multiple-choice quiz to find out—and then study up, based on your results. 

1. Which establishments are not required to display menu calories?

A. Chains with fewer than 20 locations
B. Food trucks
C. Complimentary hotel breakfasts
D. Schools
E. All of the above
F. None of the above

Answer: E

2. What is the correct terminology for listing calories?

A. Calories
B. Cal.
C. Both
D. Neither

Answer: C

3. Which of the following can be used to determine calories?

A. Taking a bite and guessing
B. Laboratory analysis
C. Asking your grandmother
D. Setting the food on fire

Answer: B. You also can use nutrient databases, cookbooks, FDA nutrients values or Nutrition Facts on packaged food labels.

4. Which of the following items do not need to be displayed with calorie counts?

A. Craft beers
B. Combo meals
C. Daily specials
D. Hot buffet foods

Answer: C

5. What qualifies as a seasonal or temporary menu item?

A. Food that is on the menu for less than 120 days per calendar year
B. Food that is on the menu for less than 90 days per calendar year
C. Food that is on the menu for less than 100 days per calendar year
D. Food that is on the menu for less than 60 days per calendar year

Answer: D

6. Which of the following pieces of information must be made available in written form?

A. Cholesterol
B. Calcium
C. Vitamin C

Answer: A.

7. If a menu offers more than two options for part of a variable menu item (such as different cheeses on a sandwich), how should the information be displayed?

A. With the most possible calories
B. With the least possible calories
C. With every possible calorie option
D. With a range of possible calories 

Answer: D

8. Along with posting calorie information on menu boards and making written information available upon request, what else is required of operators?

A. Posting warnings about the possible effects of ingesting too many calories
B. Posting succinct statements about suggested daily caloric intake
C. Making salt shakers available only upon request
D. Preventing customers from putting ketchup on hot dogs

Answer: B.

9. How is the FDA verifying compliance?

A. Requiring operators to mail in documents
B. Requiring operators to fill out an online form
C. Requiring operators to provide documentation upon request
D. Sending trained apes to inspect operations

Answer: C

10. What increments should be used in posting calories?

A. To the nearest 10 calories up to and including 50 calories, then to the nearest 5 calories above 50 calories.
B. To the nearest 5 calories up to and including 50 calories, then to the nearest 10 calories above 50 calories
C. To the nearest calorie, no matter what
D. To the nearest 20 calories, no matter what

Answer: B

To bring up a failing grade, study up here.


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