Last week, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced S. 3574, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2012, which calls for a less burdensome approach to unnecessary federal menu-labeling regulations outlined in the health-care law.
Blunt was joined by fellow Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Scott Brown (R-MA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Jerry Moran (R-KS).
The health-care law includes a provision that creates a national, uniform nutrition-disclosure standard for foodservice establishments such as chain restaurants, “similar retail food establishments,” and vending companies with 20 or more locations.
The establishments must provide specific nutritional information: posting calories on menus, menu boards, and drive-thru boards; and caloric information “adjacent” items on buffets, salad bars, and other self-service items; and additional nutrition information in writing (e.g., a brochure) upon request.
The FDA regulations proposed on April 6, 2011, would define a “covered entity” as any retailer where more than 50% of the store’s floor area is devoted to selling food. However, the FDA’s definition includes pre-packaged food that is already required to include nutritional information on its packaging.
NACS believes that any menu-labeling regulations must account for differences between the convenience store business model and a chain restaurant business model. The FDA’s proposed regulations are tailored to the restaurant business model, and unless they are revised to reflect our industry, they should not apply to convenience stores.
NACS recommended to the FDA that a floor-space calculation should be replaced with one based on revenues, and that an entity should be covered only if revenues from restaurant-type food sales exceed 50% of the store’s overall sales. In evaluating this ratio, pre-packaged food should be excluded from the “restaurant-type food” revenues, and fuel sales should be included in the store’s overall sales.
NACS worked with Representative John Carter (R-TX) to introduce H.R. 6174, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, which is the House companion measure to S. 3574. The bills are identical, and seek to bring a less burdensome approach to menu labeling by limiting the provision in the health-care law to establishments that derive 50% or more of their revenue from food that is (a) intended for immediate consumption, or (b) prepared and processed on-site. Prepackaged food would not be considered in this equation. (NACS: www.nacsonline.com)