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I have missed you, Gentle Readers! The last two months have been a blur of prep, hiring, training and execution for my business, MenuTrinfo. There's been little to no time to compose my semi-monthly blogs, but there's a timely topic that demands I find a few minutes to sit down and write out a blog today.

The rumblings from D.C. have finally crystallized into ruling for section 4205 (the menu labeling portion of the Obamacare bill). Can you say "April 2013" with me? Still, I will believe it when I see it. I can report a frenzy of activity and interest in my office. Are you seeing it too?

Maybe the update of the page called "New Menu and Vending Machines Labeling Requirements" on 2/28/13 is what has so many buzzing about the pending implementation of this section:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/ucm217762.htm

Last month a group of pizza executives visited policymakers at the White House to voice specific concerns about this impending enactment. You read the details on PizzaMarketplace. The government is finally moving forward. The ticking clock has many operators hearing the approaching chore of accurate and clear nutritional numbers.

Not only is the regulatory pressure increasing, the peer pressure and grassroots evidence is mounting. I am sure by this time you have personally seen those little calorie counts popping up everywhere.

Even the NRA show this year has a contest for restaurants to submit a menu item that meets their guidelines of a "Kid's Live Well" meal to win in May. We were positioned to help a number of companies prepare their recipes and validate them to meet the nutritional guidelines of the program. It was awesome fun for the team but the restaurants are always amazed at what it takes to make this work. Making sure those numbers are spot on is both an honor as well as a core competency.

Last week I read a press release saying just how easy it is for a chef or operator to do his or her own numbers. As you look to put your reputation on the line right up there next to those numbers and want your trust to continue with your customer, make sure you know what you are doing before letting the carbs and calories go to print.

Food ingredients and transparency in calories as well as many more identifiers is a trending issue for the swelling ranks of self-named "foodies" out there. It is now a mark of relevance to know where all your sourced ingredients come from. Are you prepared? For example, have you seen any recent Netflix documentaries that your customer is watching? Also keep in mind that when it comes to calorie accuracy, integrity of food sourcing and changing manufactures can easily lead to a nightmare in numbers....but I will save that topic for a different day.

Happy accurate counting ...

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Betsy Craig
Betsy Craig brings 20 years of food service industry experience to MenuTrinfo, LLC a menu nutritional labeling Company. Her commitment to the betterment of the food industry and her desire to affect the dining public are the driving forces behind her new company Kitchens with Confidence, LLC.
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