NATSO joined a coalition of food and retail groups in urging Congress to support the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015 (H.R. 2017), which would allow more flexibility for retailers as they seek to comply with the Food and Drug Administration’s menu-labeling regulations.
In its letter, the group of more than 200 businesses and trade associations representing convenience stores, general merchandise stores, supermarkets, grocery stores, and pizza chains said H.R. 2017 would provide the critical flexibility needed to deliver nutrition information to customers without burdening business.
Introduced by U.S. Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) in April, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015 would make food retailers' ability to comply with menu labeling requirements less expensive without compromising consumers' ability to receive nutrition information.
For example, the proposed legislation would require covered establishments to only identify one menu in the store to include calorie information; clarifies that advertisements and posters do not need to be labeled; and ensures that retailers acting in good faith are not penalized for inadvertent errors in complying with the rule. It also seeks flexibility in disclosing calorie content for variable menu items and would provide stores 90 days to correct alleged violations. The measure also would delay the law’s implementation date.
Establishments are required to comply with the FDA’s menu-labeling rules by Dec. 1, 2016.
The FDA rule applies to chain restaurants, convenience stores and similar retail food establishments and vending machines with 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name and offering substantially the same menu items for sale.
Food establishments will be required to clearly and conspicuously display calorie information for standard items on menus and menu boards, next to the name or price of the item. Menus and menu boards must include the statement: “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.” The current regulations also require establishments to place signs with caloric information adjacent to all self-service food items and food on display.
The menu labeling final rule also requires covered establishments to provide, upon consumer request and as noted on menus and menu boards, written nutrition information about total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars and protein.
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