Press Release

Protecting Small Businesses from Menu Labeling Regulations

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Washington, February 12, 2016 | Mike Reynard (202-225-1112) | comments
Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today issued the following statement in response to House passage of H.R. 2017, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation which the Congressman co-sponsored. The bill would protect Tennessee’s small restaurants, franchises and grocery stores from unnecessary costs and regulatory burdens associated with the menu labeling rules under Obamacare. The President’s healthcare law contains a rule requiring the FDA to ensure that restaurants and other outlets selling food list calorie counts on menus and menu boards. The law makes it a felony to break the rule.
 
“Obamacare overreach extends far past healthcare and into the small businesses we all enjoy such as pizzerias and ice cream parlors. These erroneous menu-labeling regulations are not only costly and time consuming for small businesses, they are nearly impossible for restaurants like pizzerias to comply with considering customers can order countless combinations of toppings. 
 
“Our solution is a common-sense approach to nutrition labeling that will allow small businesses more clarity and flexibility in how they provide their calorie counts. Consumers can still get the same information regarding calorie counts, but this bill will allow small businesses the option to post the information online. We’ve heard from our local small businesses owners that this would save them around $4,000 to $5,000 each year. That’s money they need to grow their business and ensure it thrives,” Blackburn said.   
 
BACKGROUND: 

• The nearly 400 page final menu labeling rule would establish one-size fits all nutritional disclosure requirements.

• According to OMB, FDA’s menu labeling proposal would be the 3rd most burdensome regulation proposed in 2010; 14,536,183 total hours to comply.

• Estimates state that this regulation could cost American businesses $1 billion to comply and 500,000 hours of paperwork.
 
WHAT DOES H.R. 2017 DO?
 
• Protects establishments that receive the majority of their orders remotely to provide calorie information on a remote access menu, instead of an in store menu board that they see when they pick up their meal. It is commonsense to provide the information to the customer where they are ordering it.

• Protects establishments from being penalized excessively for inadvertent human error.

• Clarifies that advertisements – such as flyers and coupons – are not menus.

• Places responsibility for compliance on corporate officials rather than local store managers and workers.

• Prohibits frivolous class-action suits.

• Extends the effective date of menu labeling requirements to provide covered establishments the necessary time to prepare and develop compliance plans.

• Protects small businesses and craft brewers that sell their products at a small subset of chains from going through laborious and expensive testing.

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