House Passes Menu Labeling Legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 6 voted 266-157 in favor of H.R. 772, the "Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017."

The U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 6 voted 266-157 in favor of H.R. 772, the "Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017."

The measure passed on a bipartisan basis despite intense opposition in large part thanks to those NATSO members who responded to our Legislative Action Alerts and contacted their elected officials urging support for this legislation.

Although House passage marks a significant step forward, truckstops and travel plazas that fall under the Food and Drug Administration’s menu-labeling rule should prepare to comply by May 7 as H.R. 772’s future prospects in the Senate are yet uncertain.

FDA’s rule requires any chain restaurant or similar retail food establishment with 20 or more locations to display calorie counts on menus and menu boards for all prepared and packaged food items for sale.

The FDA's menu-labeling rule presents a number of complexities for travel stores and convenience stores that sell prepared food and is exceedingly burdensome for small business franchisees. Introduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the "Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act" (H.R. 772) would provide food retailers greater flexibility as they seek to comply with the menu-labeling regulations and shield them from possible criminal penalties under the FDA menu-labeling rules.

The "Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act" would require FDA to revise its current menu-labeling rules to make it easier for food retailers and restaurant operators to comply while also revising the enforcement and liability rules to eliminate excessive and disproportionate penalties.

NATSO's advocacy efforts will now shift to the Senate where Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has offered a companion bill that currently has 16 co-sponsors. The bill needs the support of at least nine Democrats to pass the Senate, where there's a slim Republican majority of 51-49. Three of the bill's Democratic co-sponsors are up for re-election this year, including Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Claire McCaskeill (Mo.).

NATSO has prepared a Menu Labeling Summary and Compliance Guide for Truckstops and Travel Plazas available here.



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