Nov. 4, 2015 - Supermarkets, convenience stores and pizza chains are mounting a
new effort to get some relief from the FDA’s new menu labeling regulations. But they are no longer seeking an exemption
from the rules. Instead, they’re hoping Congress will give them some
flexibility on how they report
calorie counts, plus some protection from penalties and lawsuits.
Under an amended bill that’s starting to move through the
House, supermarket delis and convenience stores wouldn’t have to label every
product. Instead they could post calorie counts on menu boards. The bill (HR
2017) also would limit the labeling requirement to products that are sold at 20
or more locations.
chains would be allowed to post calorie counts only on their websites instead
of in stores as well. Also under the bill, stores and restaurants would get
protection from class-action lawsuits and would be allowed up to 90 days to
A House Energy
and Commerce subcommittee was scheduled to vote on the amended bill Wednesday.
Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Angus King, I-Maine, introduced a companion bill (S 2217) last week.
The FDA, which
originally planned to start enforcing the regulations next month, has pushed
the compliance deadline to December 2016. But supermarkets, convenience stores
and pizza chains say that delay isn’t enough.
“They’ve not either
understood or not been able to address the concerns that we’ve brought
forward to them time and time again,” said Rob Rosado, director of government relations
for the Food Marketing Institute.
the menu labeling regulations could be targeted through the fiscal 2016 omnibus
spending bill that Congress needs to pass by Dec. 11. The chairman of the House
Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., tells Agri-Pulse he’d like to use the bill to
block the rule. “I would like for us to
just put a hold on that,” he said.
the menu labeling requirement have managed to fight off attempts to kill or
loosen it for several years. But Margo
Wootan, nutrition policy director for the Center for Science in the Public
Interest, a research and advocacy group, fears it could be in trouble now that
its original champion, former Sen. Tom Harkin, has retired.
“It’s shameful that
Congress fails to recognize that there’s an obesity epidemic in this country. Rather
than taking steps to reduce obesity, they keep trying to roll back the few
policies that will help to address it,” she said.
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