A Big Fat Stupid Law??

Remember menu labeling?

The Affordable Care Act instituted national menu labeling—the posting of calories on the menu boards of fast food chains.

The FDA still has not issued final rules, leaving vast amounts of time for lobbying and pushback.

Now John Carter (Rep-TX) has introduced HR 6174, the anything but “Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2012.”

This bill was introduced under lobbying pressure from the pizza and supermarket industries.

Its purpose is to exempt supermarkets and convenience stores from having to post calorie information on prepared foods.  This would allow pizza chains to list calories per serving, thereby defeating the entire purpose of the menu labeling law.

The pizza industry learned that it could get Congress to do what it wanted.  Even a dab of tomato paste on pizza now counts as a vegetable serving in school meals.

If you thing calorie labeling on pizza might be a good idea, now is the time to write your congressional representatives.  Here’s how.

Marion Nestle is the author of What To Eat and is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. Nestle blogs regularly at Food Politics.

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4 replies »

  1. So, I took a quick look at the language of Carter’s bill ..

    After the calories per serving move, which was obviously designed to hit the legislation, the Carter bill includes two additional loopholes designed to weaken (translation: basically kill and leave dead at the side of the road) the Affordable Care Act’s nutritional labeling requirement..

    1. The first will exempt pizza chains, which generally take their orders over the phone and over the internet – and presumably fast food chains which take orders at drive through windows , although the second point is not entirely clear ..

    “In the case of restaurants or similar retail food establishments where the majority of orders are placed by customers who are off-premises at the time such order is placed, the information required to be disclosed under this subclause may be provided by a remote-access menu, such as one available on the internet, instead of an on-premises menu.’;”

    Simple remedy: Make them put labeling information on the box.

    2. The law would appear to exclude bars, convenience stores, movie theaters, sports venues, hotels and supermarkets. Other than that, it covers everybody. A pretty deadly bit of legislative jiujitsu.”

    ‘(III) RESTAURANT OR SIMILAR RETAIL FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term ‘restaurant or similar retail food establishment’ means a retail food establishment that derives more than 50 percent of its total revenue from the sale of food of the type described in subclause (i) or (ii) of clause (A).’.

    REMEDY: Make the law the law of the land. This is generally the way laws work.

  2. “If you thing calorie labeling on pizza might be a good idea, now is the time to write your congressional representatives.”

    Don’t forget to include a $100 bill.