House bill would limit some calorie labels

November 18, 2015 byMary Clare Jalonick

Supermarkets and pizza chains would get some relief from government calorie labeling rules under legislation approved by a House committee Wednesday.

Many restaurants and other food retail outlets, such as grocery stores, will have to post the new calorie labels, starting a year from now. The bill by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., would leave the Food and Drug Administration rules requiring that labeling in place, but make it easier for some businesses to comply.

The FDA rules will require restaurants and other establishments that sell prepared foods and have 20 or more locations to post the calorie content of food "clearly and conspicuously" on their menus, menu boards and displays. That includes prepared foods at grocery and convenience stores and in movie theaters, bakeries, coffee shops, pizza delivery stores and amusement parks.

The bill approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, 36-12, would narrow labeling requirements for supermarkets, which have complained that the rules are confusing and burdensome, by allowing stores to use a menu or menu board in a prepared-foods area instead of putting labels on individual items.

It would also allow restaurants like pizza delivery chains that receive most of their orders remotely to post calories online instead of at the retail location. Pizza restaurants would also have more flexibility in the way they post calories and restaurants and retailers could determine what constitutes a serving size, in some cases.

McMorris Rodgers said the bill "is not about the merits of displaying calorie information. It's about how we can improve existing regulations to benefit people."

The supermarket industry praised the legislation.

"If menu labeling is going to be required at grocery stores, then let's at least build some flexibility so it is worthwhile for consumers and workable in store environments," said Leslie Sarasin of the Food Marketing Institute.

Democrats said the bill would limit calorie transparency before the law has even gone into effect. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said the bill would "undermine the public health goal of providing clear, consistent calorie information to consumers."

The menu labeling rules were first required by Congress in 2010 health overhaul, but FDA took several years to write them as the supermarkets, convenience stores and pizza delivery companies aggressively lobbied against them. Those businesses said the rules would be more burdensome for them than they would be for restaurants, which typically have more limited offerings.

Explore further: Federal Agency: Calories on menus delayed until 2016

Related Stories

Federal Agency: Calories on menus delayed until 2016

July 9, 2015
Diners will have to wait until the end of 2016 to find calorie labels on all chain restaurant menus.

Restaurants listing calorie counts on the menu offer more lower-calorie items

November 2, 2015
Large U.S.-based chain restaurants that voluntarily list calorie counts on their menus average nearly 140 fewer calories per item than those that do not post the information, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led ...

Poll: Americans support menu labeling

December 31, 2014
Most Americans favor labeling calories on menus in fast food and sit-down restaurants. That's according to an Associated Press-GfK poll conducted in December that found most favor labels for prepared foods in the grocery ...

Where will calorie labels appear? Not just menus

April 25, 2014
Diners could soon see calorie counts on menus of chain restaurants.

US orders calorie labeling for fast-food (Update)

November 25, 2014
The United States on Tuesday announced sweeping new rules forcing chain restaurants and pizza parlors to publish calorie counts on menus in an attempt to combat the nation's obesity epidemic.

Big Apple menu calorie counts don't add up to leaner diets at fast-food restaurants

November 2, 2015
Some six years out from New York City's attempt to curb the obesity epidemic by mandating calorie counts in chain restaurants, researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have found that calorie labels, on their own, have not ...

Recommended for you

Accurate measurements of sodium intake confirm relationship with mortality

June 21, 2018
Eating foods high in salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure, but does that linear relationship extend to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death? Recent cohort studies have contested that relationship, ...

Fans of yoga therapy have yet to win over doctors

June 21, 2018
Yoga practitioners often tout the unique health benefits of the ancient discipline—from relieving stress and pain to improving vascular health—but most doctors remain sceptical in the absence of hard proof.

Fruit and vegetables linked to changes in skin colour, new research finds

June 21, 2018
Skin colour in young Caucasian men is strongly linked to high levels of fruit and vegetable consumption, new research by Curtin University has found.

What a pain: The iPad neck plagues women more

June 20, 2018
Is your iPad being a literal pain in the neck?

Medicaid work requirements and health savings accounts may impact people's coverage

June 20, 2018
Current experimental approaches in Medicaid programs—including requirements to pay premiums, contribute to health savings accounts, or to work—may lead to unintended consequences for patient coverage and access, such ...

Introduction of alcohol found to adversely impact fertility rates in hunter-gatherer community

June 19, 2018
Fernando Ramirez Rozzi, a research director with the French National Centre for Scientific Research has found that the introduction of alcohol to a Baka pygmy hunter-gatherer society caused fertility rates to fall. In his ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.