In response to Affordable Care Act provisions, requiring restaurants and similar retail food establishments to provide calorie and other nutrition information for menu items, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and a bipartisan group of senators have reportedly requested that the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) review nutrition labeling regulations to “ensure that any measures adopted will allow flexibility for restaurants and avoid unnecessarily burdening food retail establishments where nutrition information is already prevalent.”
“Since FDA published its proposed rule to implement nutrition labeling of standard menu items at chain restaurants, many concerns have been raised about the regulations expanding to non-restaurants, such as grocery and convenience stores, where the vast majority of food products are already labeled with nutritional information,” wrote the senators in a May 30, 2014, letter to OMB Administrator Howard shelanski. “The proposed rule also could affect restaurants with highly variable items or different food service formats, such as pizza delivery operations [thereby harming] both those non-restau- rants that were not intended to be captured by the menu labeling law, as well as those restaurants that have variability in the foods they offer.”
The senators identified several alternatives that they contend “would allow the food service industry to maintain [its] commitment to customers while increasing [its] ability to comply with federal law,” including (i) “limiting the scope of the menu labeling regulations to establishments where food service is the primary source of revenue”; (ii) “allowing delivery operations to provide nutritional information online”; (iii) “allowing multiple approaches for made- to-order or variably sized items”; (iv) “allowing restaurants with drive-throughs to display required nutritional information on a poster or pamphlet”; and (v) “not penalizing reasonable margins of inadvertent human error.” See Sen. McCaskill Press Release, May 30, 2014.