NATSO joined more than 200 organizations employing millions in applauding Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) for introducing the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (H.R. 772) that 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 FDA's menu-labeling rule, scheduled to take effect May 5, presents a number of complexities for travel stores and convenience stores that sell prepared food and is exceedingly burdensome for small business franchisees. The 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 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.
Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) in late January introduced H.R. 772 in the House. Companion bill S. 261, was introduced on Feb. 1, 2017, by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Angus King (I-Maine) in the Senate.
In a letter sent to Rep. McMorris Rodgers, the companies said the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act is comprised of practical implementation methods for various retail, foodservice and delivery formats.
“Businesses around the country have found that this rule as currently written is difficult or impossible to follow,” the organizations wrote. “Initial industry estimates put the costs of compliance with the current rule to be more than $1 billion, and the costs continue rising due to the regulatory rigidity and fears of overzealous enforcement and petty lawsuits for technical problems. These businesses could provide more and better information to consumers with some reasonable flexibility like what this bill would provide.”
The signatories, who agree with providing transparent nutritional information, employ 3.5 million people in grocery stores, 1.8 million people inconvenience stores, more than 1 million people in pizzerias, and hundreds of thousands of people at truckstops and travel plazas throughout the United States.
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