NATSO, Others Urge Congress to Pass Menu Labeling Reform Legislation

NATSO and a coalition of more than 200 food and retail groups is urging Congress to enact the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015 (H.R. 2017, S. 2217) before the end of the year to address remaining problems with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) menu-labeling rule and ensure necessary compliance flexibility.

The legislation NATSO supports would make it easier for travel plazas with convenience stores to comply with new federal mandates requiring the disclosure of calorie content on menus and menu boards. The FDA's final rule is exceedingly burdensome and complicated for convenience stores to satisfy. NATSO has prepared a summary and compliance guide detailing the final rule and the steps NATSO members must take to comply. 

In its letter,which was sent to lawmakers on Sept. 13, the group of businesses and trade associations representing convenience stores, general merchandise stores, supermarkets, grocery stores and pizza chains said FDA’s inability or unwillingness to incorporate compliance flexibility in recent final guidance coupled with a lack of clarity in the regulations is jeopardizing their “good-faith compliance efforts” and putting them at risk excessive and unwarranted enforcement efforts. 
The U.S. House of Representatives in February passed H.R. 2017, introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), that made small but important changes to the FDA’s menu-labeling regulation to make it easier for food retailers and restaurant operators to comply with the rule. It also revised enforcement and liability rules to eliminate excessive disproportionate penalties.   

Similar legislation, S. 2217, was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Angus King (I-Maine) but has not moved forward. This is the legislation that NATSO is urging Congress to pass before the end of the year.

The legislation includes practical compliance methods for various retail, foodservice and delivery formats.FDA released final guidance in May clarifying some of the ambiguities in its menu-labeling regulations. That guidance contained little new information that FDA had not already released, however, and left a variety of ambiguities and unnecessary complexities associated with the rule.

FDA is currently scheduled to begin enforcing calorie labeling requirements in May 2017.

NATSO members with questions on the menu labeling rule should contact NATSO legislative and regulatory counsel David








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