NOTE: the FDA has put a hold on this regulation for a year. Maybe Trump got someone in there who is capable of using their brain and some common sense.
The 105-page rule would implement Obama-era amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), which sets national standards for the marketing and labeling of food products.
The rule would require, among other mandates, that all restaurants and other retail food outlets, such as movie theaters, operating as one brand with at least 20 stores display a calorie count in addition to other nutritional information for all standard menu items on the establishment’s “menus and menu boards.”
Okay, what is a menu? Anything in writing or print that the customer sees concerning the product offered by the dining establishment, possibly including pamphlets or flyers.
The ruling says that a company/restaurant that does not comply can be held criminally liabale for “misbranding” (proper labeling), and the manager/owner/supervisor can face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine due to the “responsible corporate officer doctrine.”
The big problem many restaurants have with this is their products are not always exactly the same. Take pizza for instance.
A pizza house can offer a selection of as many as 27 regular toppings and nine sauces on five types of crust. All told, there are 34 million potential pizza combinations one could order.
How do you put the calorie count for that on a menu? The estimate is that for some restaurants it would cost $5,000 to rewrite their menus, menu boards, etc.
People who eat pizza do so because they love it, not because they want to eat healthy. Pizza is a comfort food. A party food. A group favorite. Who doesn’t like some kind of pizza?
Chris Reisch, a Domino’s franchise owner in Kentucky who started out as a delivery man, explained, according to the Washington Free Beacon, “To face one year in prison for putting too many pepperonis on a pizza? Everybody laughs and smiles, but that’s the reality of the way it’s written now.”
David Rosenthal of the Heritage Foundation said Tim McIntyre, Domino’s Pizza executive vice president, stated if employees “are heavy handed with cheese or pepperoni, and a pizza doesn’t meet standards and is outside of the range of the nutritional labeling, then that could be a store manager liable for a criminal penalty. And that’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Yes, it is. More like absurd.
Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri thinks so, too.
A bipartisan coalition led by Blunt, R-Mo., recently introduced a compromise bill to meet the FDA’s objective that consumers know how many calories are in each menu item without placing an unnecessary burden on businesses.
The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017 sets forth a modified rule that includes flexibility for “establishments with standard menu items that come in different flavors, varieties, or combinations.”
Enjoy your pizza. For now.