FDA rule on restaurant menu nutrition labels altered under new proposal

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By: Tori Fater
tfater@elkharttruth.com

The Elkhart Truth/Tim Vandenack

A rule requiring restaurant chains to post calorie counts on their menus could be eased soon.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski voiced her support Friday for less strict nutrition labeling requirements for restaurants and stores.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires restaurant chains with more than 20 locations to label their menus with calorie counts for standard items. The rule, explained in detail on the FDA’s website, affects large chains like McDonald’s as well as smaller companies like Buca di Beppo or the Hard Rock Cafe chain.

Walorski called the regulations “impractical” and claimed they are “unnecessarily expensive.”

“Forcing hardworking businesses to spend money and countless hours adhering to the complicated rules is the biggest misuse of their time,” she said in a press release.

A bill to let some restaurants avoid posting nutrition labels on their menus is making its way through U.S. Congress.

Under the proposal, if most customers are not on a restaurant’s premises when they place an order — for example, if they are calling in a delivery order — the restaurant could post nutrition labels exclusively on their online menu, since customers would be more likely to see the labels there.

The bill, H.R. 2017, which also clarifies other sections of the FDA guidelines, was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives 266-144 and is headed to the Senate for consideration. You can read the full text online here.

Tori Fater is a reporter for the Elkhart Truth and writes for Flavor 574.
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