U.S. Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) on April 26 introduced H.R. 2017, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015, which would allow more flexibility for retailers as they seek to comply with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulations regarding calorie labeling on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants, other food retail establishments and on vending machines.
Among its provisions, the proposed legislation would limit menu-labeling to establishments that derive 50 percent or more of their revenue from food for immediate consumption or prepared and processed on site.
The proposed legislation also 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 for at least two to three years.
H.R. 2017 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The FDA’s menu-labeling rule that is set to take effect Dec. 1 requires any chain restaurant or similar retail food establishment with 20 or more locations under the same banner to display calorie counts on menus and menu boards for all prepared and packaged food items for sale.
Menus and menu boards must include the statement:”2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calories needs vary.”
The FDA’s menu-labeling 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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