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House passes bill to amend menu labeling rule

The House of Representatives Friday passed the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, a bill that industry groups say eases the menu labeling burden for supermarkets while keeping the spirit of the original legislation.

According to FMI, key provisions of the bill include:

  • Allowing use of a menu or menu board in the prepared foods area or next to a salad bar instead of labeling each individual item
  • Providing exceptions for localized items that may only be sold at one or two locations
  • Allowing a store to take corrective actions within 90-days prior to federal, state or municipal enforcement and thereby provide some degree of liability protection

“The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015 (H.R. 2017) is not about being ‘for’ or ‘against’ the inclusion of nutrition information on menus. Instead, the bill injects some common sense into the rule by avoiding a one-size fits all system and allowing supermarkets to provide this important information to their customers in ways that are most accessible and useful to the customers for whom it is intended,” FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin said in a press release.

NGA similarly lauded the bill’s passage.

“Independent supermarket operators are on the forefront of meeting consumer demands with a variety of innovative approaches, often tailoring their offerings to reflect the communities they serve. H.R. 2017 contains important regulatory fixes and provides flexibility for supermarkets to continue serving their consumers with local and unique food choices while ensuring consumers receive clear nutritional information,” said NGA president and CEO Peter Larkin.

A similar bill was introduced in the Senate in October.

The White House issued a statement earlier this week opposing the changes to the menu labeling rule:

“H.R. 2017 would undercut the objective of providing clear, consistent calorie information to consumers. If enacted, it would reduce consumers’ access to nutrition information and likely create consumer confusion by introducing a great deal of variability into how calories are declared. The legislation also would create unnecessary delays in the implementation of menu labeling.”

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