Food Labeling: Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments
There is a growing problem of obesity today. According to the CDC, approximately 33.8 percent of American adults are obese. There has been a dramatic increase in the rate of obesity in the past 20 years. No state in America has a prevalence of less than 20 percent of obesity [CDC], a quite astonishing percentage. High obesity rates lead to high rates of blood pressure and diabetes, chronic conditions that are commonly seen today, which in turn can lead to heart attacks and strokes. With the structure of our healthcare system today, it is possible that a vast majority of obese individuals will not seek or receive the care that they need. There are websites that are dedicated on providing information to consumers on what causes obesity and what nutrition content food must have for it to be healthy to eat. Having nutrition labels on food products in restaurants and similar retail food establishments can provide consumers with enough information they need to make wise food decisions and implement the information received from health educators and hopefully lower the prevalence and incidence rate of obesity. The FDA has examined the impacts of the proposed rule under the Executive Order 12866, it directs agencies to evaluate all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is essential, to select approaches that maximize net benefits [FDA-2011-F-0172]. This would include potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity. The FDA has designated this rule as “economically” significant rule and has identified five regulatory options for this proposed rule as required by E.O 12866 [FDA-2011-F-0172]. This proposed rule is essential to apply Section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act which requires disclosure of calorie and other nutrition information by covered establishments. Consumers will be able to make more informed choices with the aid of nutrition labeling. The FDA has also examined impacts under the Regulatory Flexibility Act which requires agencies to analyze regulatory alternatives that would reduce any major impact of the rule on small entities. The FDA concludes that a large amount of entities affected by this proposed regulation are small businesses [FDA-2011-F-0172]. The FDA has analyzed this proposed rule in accordance with the principles set forth in E.O 13132. Section 4205 of the ACA included a Rule of Construction; the FDA interpreted it to mean that State and local governments are not allowed to enforce nutrition labeling requirements for food sold in restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are obliged to comply with the Federal requirements unless the State or local requirements are exactly the same as the federal requirements [Federal Register, 2011]. This means that States and localities are not allowed to have “additional or different nutrition labeling requirements for food sold in restaurants or similar retail food establishments that are ‘part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name…and offering for sale substantially the same menu items’ [Federal Register, 2011]. Regardless of the region these establishments are located; this regulation will require restaurants to provide nutrition labeling in all their franchises. For food items that are not subject to federal requirements, States and localities are allowed to impose nutrition labeling requirements and can also have nutrition labeling requirements for foods sold in non-chain (those with less than 20 locations) restaurants as well. It is permissible for States and localities to have certain nutrition labeling requirements for other food that is exempt from nutrition labeling considering that such food is not required to have nutrition labeling under federal...
References: 5) CSPI. (2011, July 05). Food labeling; nutrition labeling of standard menu items in restaurants and similar retail food establishments. Retrieved from http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/comments_ml_regs_cspi.pdf
7) FMI. (2011, July 05). Comments on proposed fda menu labeling rule. Retrieved from http://www.fmi.org/newsletters/uploads/commentsfiled/fmi_76fr19192_070511.pdf
9) DeLauro, H. (2009, Nay 14). Harkin, delauro build on local nutrition efforts with federal restaurant menu labeling initiative. Retrieved from http://delauro.house.gov/release.cfm?id=2547
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