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FMI: Calorie Labeling Study is Flawed

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Food Marketing Institute said that a recent study on calorie labeling, which called the practice “feasible” for supermarkets, fails to acknowledge the regulatory burden or the cost to the industry.

“There’s no mention of the regulatory requirements in this study that [the Center for Science in the Public Interest] put together,” Erik Lieberman, FMI’s regulatory counsel, told SN.

“It’s not as simple as … just putting a label out there.”

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed regulations for calorie labeling under the Affordable Care Act that would include supermarkets and convenience stores.

The CSPI study listed the presence of dieticians in many supermarkets as one reason stores should find it easy to add calorie counts to prepared food items.

However, Lieberman contended the federal regulation would make menu labeling subject to several layers of paperwork, so it wouldn’t be a question of in-store dieticians just adding the calorie count to a sign.

Moreover, Lieberman said the man-hours needed to comply with any new regulations, in addition to analyzing each food item and creating new signage, would place an enormous financial burden on supermarkets.

“We’ve estimated it’s a $1 billion cost for the first year alone, for the industry,” said Lieberman. “It’s a huge burden.”

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