The 2011 Hospitality law Conference
No Two Twinkies Are Alike -- Understanding the Reasonable Basis Requirement of Federal Menu Labeling
Both the media and class action lawyers are challenging the accuracy of restaurants' nutritional information. The new federal menu labeling law codifies FDA's requirement that restaurants (possibly including hotel restaurants) have a "reasonable basis" for these numbers. This standard acknowledges inevitable variation in nutritional content of food items as well as special challenges in food service. Restaurants meeting this standard are insulated from private false advertising claims as well as regulatory enforcement. But what is a "reasonable basis"? Answers come from FDA guidance, restaurant experience, and a recent ruling in false advertising litigation. This session will review sources of nutritional information, as well as practical issues in addressing sources of variability in the supply chain, in the kitchen, and with customers, all with a focus on defending the accuracy of the numbers both in court and in the media.