This lecture, presented by Town Hall Seattle and sponsored by PCC Community Markets, is titled “Ask Marion: The Politics of Food and Nutrition.” It’s at 7:30 pm Seattle time and 10:30 pm New York time. Get tickets here.
Anti-Menu labeling: House to vote today
Remember calorie labeling on the menu boards of chain restaurants?
This started in New York City in 2008. The chains have survived, and the world has not come to an end.
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (remember that?) was passed with a provision to take calorie labeling national.
Since then, the delays have been endless but menu labeling is scheduled to go into effect in May 2018.
For the history of all this, see the FDA’s summary.
But now the House of Representatives has introduced, and will vote this week on, an anti-menu-labeling bill, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (HR. 772). Its purpose is to further delay and weaken the provisions.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has issued an emailed action alert pointing out that:
Over 80 percent of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents support menu labeling, according to a new January 2018 poll released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Further, over 80 percent think chain supermarkets, convenience stores, and pizza (like Domino’s) should be held to the same standard for labeling calories as chain restaurants.
It has suggestions for immediate advocacy:
- Mobilize your members to write their Representative. CSPI’s action alert is here.
- Engage your grassroots to urge a number of House Democrats who previously voted for the bill last Congress to oppose the bill. We have a list of targets and can provide a model note and talking points.
- Send a letter to the House opposing the bill. We can provide a model note.
- Activate your members via social media. Here are some examples:
- 8 out of 10 Americans across all parties—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—want calorie labeling when eating out. Oppose #HR772 that would weaken and delay #menulabeling: http://bit.ly/2phlGJd.
- 8 out of 10 Americans think pizza chains should label calories just like restaurants, yet #HR772 would exempt labeling inside pizza chains. Protect #menulabeling: http://bit.ly/2phlGJd.
- Congress is considering weakening enforcement and consumer protections for #menulabeling. Urge them to oppose: http://bit.ly/2phlGJd.
CSPI provides additional resources about the problems with this bill:
- Claims versus Reality of the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act
- The Problem with Arbitrary Serving Sizes
- Hiding Calorie Labeling is like Hiding Speed Limits
The House passed the bill on a vote of 266 to 157.