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Letter of Support: Reform Menu Labeling Requirements

October 10, 2012 J

Dear Senator Blunt and Representative Carter:

On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I am writing in support of the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2012 (H.R. 6174 and S. 3574), which would improve the menu labeling requirements established in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Then-Speaker Pelosi said that we had to pass the health care bill in order to find out what’s in it. Eighteen months after her comments, we’re still learning more about the myriad regulations buried in the law that will beleaguer American citizens and businesses. Consider how new well-meaning menu labeling requirements will impact just one industry: pizza delivery companies. These absurd results are what happen when out-of-touch bureaucrats write overly broad and inflexible rules.

Under the new Federal Drug Administration rule established pursuant to the President’s health care law, restaurant chains with more than 20 locations are required to display nutritional information on their in-store menu boards. This rule is wide-reaching and does not allow for variance among restaurant types, such as ownership and food served. This inflexibility results in odd applications and unnecessary adverse impacts with little benefit to consumers.

For example, because most pizza is ordered online and delivered to the customer’s home, they will never actually see the in-store menus. Why not allow these types of businesses to put nutrition labels on their website menus in order to benefit the customer and comply with the rule? Inflexibility in the face of real-world applications is one of the clearest examples of unnecessary regulatory burdens.

Another reason why pizza companies will have difficulty complying with the rule is because they serve foods that are highly varied. Domino’s Pizza notes there are 34 million combinations of their product, considering different choices in size, crust, sauce, and toppings. Displaying this wide array of information on a menu board is problematic. How should they comply—wallpaper the store with menus? It’s no wonder that the Office of Management and Budget ranked this as the third most burdensome rule enacted during FY 2010.

Your bill would modify the rule to give franchises the option to comply with online menus. This would improve the menu labeling requirements to allow for certain businesses that weren’t meant to be caught in its crosshairs. Americans for Prosperity is proud to support H.R. 6174 and S. 3574, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2012. I urge your colleagues to support its passage.

Sincerely,

James Valvo
Director of Policy, Americans for Prosperity

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