Brief History of Nutrition Transparency and the FDA
The Affordable Care Act, passed in March 2010, called out our nation’s system of menu labeling. So in 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally came out with a draft to uphold the new law. The initial and reduced document—now known as the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act—impacts a number of foodservice operations, including convenience stores, grocery stores, movie theaters, amusement parks and alcohol.
The Case for Food and Nutrition Reform
“Compliance with [FDA’s current regulations] is estimated to cost American businesses more than $1 billion and 500,000 hours of paperwork,” stated Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). “This is time, energy, and financial resources that should be spent on creating jobs and building up the economy—not on paperwork.”
The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015: The Basics
The bill requires any foodservice providers with 20 or more locations to properly label nutritions facts on all food items. In addition, the FDA added alcohol to the “menu-labeling roster” for HR 2017. The bill passed in the House on February 12 and will go to the Senate next for consideration and voting.
How HR 2017 Will Change Food Labeling
Here are some major ways food-labeling will change if the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act passes through the Senate and Washington, and becomes law:
- Changed options when it comes to how restaurants are required to label calories.
- For restaurants that are largely take-out establishments (such as pizzerias), they can list caloric information online rather than being required to post it in-store and on printed menus.
- Restaurants with highly customizable menus can establish “calorie ranges.”
- Restaurant establishments won’t be held accountable or sued for inaccurate nutritional content due to human error or changes in food products.
What the Opposition Is Saying
The bill has gained bipartisan support, however, there is opposition from businesses who believe no business should be exempt from the FDA’s food-labeling requirements and regulations. Overall, opponents argue it would weaken the FDA’s current regulations regarding nutrition labeling.
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