Now that the Supreme Court says that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, it’s time to get those pesky menu labeling regulations in place. That Act, you may recall, included a provision to take menu labeling national.
Late in May, Nation’s Restaurant News reported that pizza restaurant chains were banding together to fight FDA’s forthcoming menu-labeling regulations.
The American Pizza Community (TAPC) represents chains like Domino’s Pizza, Papa John’s Pizza, Little Caesar Enterprises, the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association, Hungry Howie’s and Godfather’s Pizza.
TAPC members want alternatives for menu labeling that “would work for pizza.”
When there are 34 million ways to top a pizza just at Domino’s, it’s easy to understand how the one-size-fits-all situation currently proposed doesn’t work for pizza.
On June 4, Food Chemical News said the pizza industry would be asking Congress for an exemption from the menu labeling final rule.
Two days later, TAPC denied that charge.
On June 19, the Washington Post reported that TAPC met with congressional representatives to push for changes to the menu labeling plan. What kind of changes? Could they include exemptions? Not clear.
TAPC is getting somewhere. Congressman John Carter (R-TX) has just introduced a bill to weaken the national menu labeling law. This would exempt supermarkets and convenience stores from having to post calorie information on prepared foods, gives a break to pizza, and allows calories to be listed by serving size.
Also in the meantime, Food Chemical News says the House Appropriations subcommittee told the FDA to narrow the focus of its menu labeling rule. Translation: leave out movie theaters and, maybe, pizza.
I happen to love pizza, but it is unquestionably a major source of calories in American diets. A slice of a big thick pizza can easily run 1000 calories. I’d like to think that some pizza eaters might find that information useful.
I think pizza places should label calories—really, they can figure out how to do it—and that’s what I told CBS TV on June 20.
Margo Wootan at Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has an op-ed in The Hill with a good summary of the reasons why menu labeling needs to get moving. If you agree, CSPI has a model letter you can quickly send to the President, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the FDA’s parent agency), and the FDA.
What’s holding up the regs? First, the Supreme Court, but that’s no longer an excuse. The upcoming election maybe? That’s no excuse either.