The House of Representatives last Friday passed a bill that will ease regulations for restaurants and retail chains required by the Affordable Care Act to post comprehensive calorie information for consumers. The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015, which passed by a vote of 266-144, maintains but modifies the Food and Drug Administration’s menu labeling regulations, allowing retailers and restaurants to provide nutritional information to customers in a more usable format and to protect small businesses from overly burdensome costs.
The bill will allow restaurants, like pizza chains, to post calorie information online instead of on their menu boards. An adopted amendment offered by Representative Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA) aims to ensure that businesses would not be penalized for “inadvertent human error” in preparation or variation of ingredients that could change the calorie counts from the ones posted online.
IDFA joined more than 200 food and retailing organizations in a letter sent on Feb. 9 to all members of the House in support of the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act.
Many dairy products, including cheeses placed on pizzas and ice cream included in sundaes, could be affected by these regulations. IDFA has been a longtime supporter of common sense labeling regulations, recognizing that members need flexibility when deciding where to place and display nutritional information to help customers make their purchasing decisions.
Although the White House opposes the bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) praised its passage. “The government should not be placing more harmful barriers in the way of hardworking small businesses. This important legislation would roll back the FDA’s burdensome menu labeling rule, giving American restaurants, grocery and convenience stores the flexibility they need to be successful,” Ryan said in a statement. “I commend Cathy for her work on this measure.”
The Senate companion bill, S. 2217, was introduced last fall by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Angus King (I-ME). The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for further consideration.
For more information, contact Chelsee Woodey, IDFA director of legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.