by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon highlights a plea from small business owners to the Trump administration.
Small businesses are pleading the Trump administration to delay an onerous Obama-era regulation requiring calorie labeling on menus, violations of which can carry jail time for mislabeling food.
Trade organizations representing pizza chains, supermarkets, and convenience stores are asking for common sense to prevail before the rule goes into effect May 5.
The regulation, buried in Obamacare and written by the Food and Drug Administration, requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to list calorie counts on every food item, including items on coupons and advertisements. The final guidance for the rule, which has been delayed twice already, included a 171-word definition of the word “menu.”
Associations representing grocery stores and gas stations say the FDA does not even know what the regulation requires, including whether a store could face criminal penalties for serving different sizes of fried chicken. The unwieldy government mandate could lead to $1 billion in costs for supermarkets and stores being sued for mislabeling calorie counts on potato salad.
“We want to eliminate some of the more onerous, and frankly ridiculous, pieces of the legislation, which is that there is a criminal element to the menu labeling act right now,” said Tim McIntyre, an executive vice president of Domino’s Pizza.
The regulation carries criminal penalties for “misbranding” food, including a maximum $1,000 fine, one year in prison, or both. McIntyre said this could mean jail time for putting too much pepperoni on a pizza.