SACRAMENTO Calif. The California Restaurant Association has named as a preferred vendor product the MenuCalc nutrition analysis and reporting software and regulatory compliance services of FoodCalc LLC, FoodCalc disclosed.
The move comes as chain operators near the July start of the state’s unique calorie-disclosure law.
Operators can calculate menu-item-nutrition metrics by accessing Web-based MenuCalc on a subscription basis to enter recipe information and draw on FoodCalc’s extensive database of ingredient information, or pay MenuCalc to do some or all of the work, the results for which can be accessed online. The CRA partnership entitles the association’s 22,000 members to receive a 10-percent discount on standard MenuCalc fees, which San Francisco-based FoodCalc maintains represent a sizeable discount over laboratory analysis and other services used by some restaurateurs.
Beginning July 1, California will be the first state in the country to require chains of 20 units or more to disclose caloric information on menus or menu boards. That law, Senate Bill 1420, was the result of collaboration between the Legislature, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the restaurant association, which was working to pre-empt regulations that would have proven costlier to its members. SB 1420 preempts existing local ordinances, some of which are more stringent.
For the 18 months following the July 1 start of the California law, restaurants also have the option of providing a fuller nutrition analysis of standard items in a brochure available on request at the point of sale. Calorie counts would be part of that breakdown. As of Jan. 1, 2011, all applicable restaurants would have to post the calorie information on menus and menu boards, regardless of their earlier means of compliance. Local health departments will enforce the law, and infractions are punishable by fines of $50 to $500.
“The CRA is excited to begin a partnership with FoodCalc as many of our members look for ways to comply with SB 1420,” said Jot Condie, president and chief executive Sacramento-based CRA. “We see true value in their accurate online system, MenuCalc, combined with individualized access to trained registered dietitians” and “exclusive discounts that are particularly important during these challenging economic times,” he added.