Understanding FDA Menu Labeling Rounding Rules: A Guide for Restaurants
If your restaurant provides calorie counts and nutrition information on your menus, you’re likely aware that this information must comply with the FDA’s guidelines for menu labeling. And while these rules and regulations are certainly important in order to provide your customers with transparency about the food you serve at your establishment, the rules can be confusing to navigate.
One aspect of menu labeling that many restaurant owners find particularly confusing is the FDA’s rounding rules. While having a standard for how to round nutritional values is important for the sake of consistency, rounding each and every one of your calorie counts and nutrient values can be tedious and time-consuming. This is because each nutrient value has different rounding guidelines. So, let’s take a look at the basic guidelines for your restaurant to follow in order to comply with the FDA’s menu labeling rounding rules.
FDA Menu Labeling Rounding Rules
If you’ve already done some nutrition analysis for your menu items, you’ll likely have noticed that the resulting values are unrounded and usually have decimal points. While these values are likely very accurate, for the sake of consistency, it’s important to provide a whole number on your menu.
Here are the specific FDA menu labeling rounding rules to follow for each piece of information you must provide to your customers:
If the menu item has:
- Fewer than 5 calories per serving, round down to zero.
- 50 or fewer calories per serving, round to the nearest 5 increment (i.e. 33 rounds to 35).
- More than 50 calories per serving, round to the nearest 10 increment (i.e. 102 becomes 100).
Calories from Fat, Total Fat, Saturated Fat, and Trans Fat
If your menu item’s value for total fat is:
- Less than 0.5 grams, round down to 0 (i.e. 0.45 becomes 0).
- Between 0.5 and 5 grams, round to the nearest half gram (i.e. 3.75 rounds to 4).
- More than 5 grams, round to the nearest whole gram (i.e. 54.73 rounds to 55).
(Note that the value for cholesterol should be rounded in the same way, but be mindful that the unit is in milligrams and not grams.)
If your menu item’s values for sodium or potassium are:
- Less than 5 mg per serving, round down to zero.
- Between 5 and 140 mg per serving, round to the nearest 5 increment (i.e. 133 becomes 135).
- Greater than 140 mg, round to the nearest 10 increment (172 becomes 170).
Total Carbohydrate, Dietary Fiber, Sugar, and Protein
If your menu item has:
- Less than 0.5 grams per serving, round down to 0.
- Less than 1 gram per serving, state “less than 1 gram.”
- 1 gram or more, round to the nearest whole gram (i.e. 2.25 becomes 2).
Following these guidelines will ensure you comply with the FDA guidelines and provide accurate information to your customers. But what’s the best way to go about rounding these values for your menu?
Automatic Rounding with Online Nutrition Analysis Software
These rounding rules may seem a little overwhelming, but the good news is that there is an easy way to ensure you’ve rounded your calories and your additional nutrition information according to the FDA menu labeling rounding rules. Online nutrition analysis software can round all the nutrition info you need to provide to your customers according to the FDA rules with the click of a mouse. All you have to do is enter your recipe using a USDA-approved ingredient database and watch as your results are instantly generated. Then, you can simply select the rounded version of your results, and you’re finished.
Remember, complying with the FDA menu labeling rounding rules does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Using user-friendly online software can save you loads of time so you can get back to the hustle and bustle of your busy restaurant as soon as possible.
At MenuCalc, our industry-leading online nutrition analysis software makes complying with the FDA menu labeling guidelines quick and simple. Short on time? Our expert menu consultants can analyze your recipes for you. Try our free 15-day trial or contact us today to learn more.