Dear Representative McMorris Rodgers:
On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I applaud you for introducing the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, H.R.1249. The plight of the pizza franchiser, caught in the cross-hairs of the menu labeling rules in President Obama’s health care law, provides a lesson in unintended consequences. This is what happens when out-of-touch bureaucrats write overly broad and inflexible rules.
Although the calorie count rule exempts small businesses, it does not exempt franchises. Most pizza franchisees are mom-and-pop stores that will have difficulty shouldering the cost of compliance, yet they are swept into this rule because their signage belongs to a national brand.
This rule simply doesn’t work for highly-variable foods like pizza. Literally millions of delicious combinations exist. It’s not just pepperoni and sausage—there’s jalapeños and pineapple and anchovies, too. There’s also thin-crust and hand-tossed and gluten-free. How to display this panoply of calorie counts in a way that complies with the rule? Print menus in tiny type-face, and then wallpaper the inside of the store with them?
As if this rule didn’t have enough problems already, it also gives companies zero flexibility in displaying information. For pizza delivery companies, few customers would even see the menus because they rarely step foot inside the store. Most customers order over the Internet and have their pizzas delivered. The rule does not currently allow companies to report calorie information online, where their customers would actually see it.
Your legislation provides a practical solution: allow certain companies to comply with the calorie reporting rule using a website. This will give companies the flexibility they need, while preserving the intent of informing consumers on their nutritional choices. Americans for Prosperity is proud to support your legislation. I urge your colleagues to support its passage, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Christine Harbin Hanson
Americans for Prosperity