Calorie Listing Now Mandatory Across the U.S.

Trinh Le, MPH, RD
by Trinh Le, MPH, RD
Share it:
Calorie Listing Now Mandatory Across the U.S.

With well over 100 million pounds lost, MyFitnessPal users know the value of tracking calories as a part of a healthy diet and to meet weight goals. But unless you’re a seasoned nutritional expert adept at sizing up portions and projecting calories, grabbing a bite on the go can be a challenge. Thankfully, it it’s going to get a whole lot easier.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently passed its final rules for mandatory, nationwide nutritional labelling on many of the foods you eat away from home. The reason? According to the FDA commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, “Americans eat one third of their calories away from home,” and that’s why the ruling calls for calorie labeling in food establishments with more than 20 locations.

Where can I expect to see calorie information?

As long as the food establishment has 20 or more locations they have to provide calorie labelling. According to the FDA, you can expect to see calorie info pop up in:

  • Sit-down and fast-food restaurants
  • Movie theatres, amusement parks and other places of entertainment
  • Bakeries and coffee shops
  • Convenience stores
  • Vending machines (if the operator runs more than 20 machines)
  • Take-out joints and delivery services (pizza!)
  • Self-serve food bars (salads, soups, sandwiches and so forth)
  • Alcoholic drinks (if they appear on menus)

Can I get more than just calorie info?

Absolutely! The ruling allows you to request other nutrient information (such as total fat, carbs, protein, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, etc) and it should legally be honored.

When does it take effect and what am I supposed to do in the meantime?

The FDA passed its ruling last week, but it won’t come into effect until one year from now. That being said, calorie labeling is not a new thing with New York City being the first to pass this regulation in 2006. You can move there or… you could just continue logging your calories with MyFitnessPal’s large and diverse database of foods! We’d also like to suggest this 10 Healthier Drive-thru Meals article to help you eat out healthfully.

About the Author

Trinh Le, MPH, RD
Trinh Le, MPH, RD
Trinh is a registered dietitian by day, blogger at Fearless Food RD by night. She loves helping folks develop a better relationship with food, which includes lots of cooking, eating and learning about nutrition. When she’s not snapping mouthwatering shots of (mostly) healthy food, you can find Trinh HIIT-ing it at her local gym. For more, connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.


Never Miss a Post!

Turn on MyFitnessPal desktop notifications and stay up to date on the latest health and fitness advice.


Click the 'Allow' Button Above


You're all set.