Here you thought ObamaCare only involved skyrocketing premiums and loss of your choice of doctors. Now it’s also going to cost businesses through a set of Orwellian menu requirements at stores and restaurants.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is asking the Obama administration to scale back draft regulations under ObamaCare that would force restaurants to post nutritional information on their menus.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is close to finalizing a rule requiring calorie labels on vending machines and at restaurants and “similar retail food establishments.” Proposed in 2011, the regulations stem from the Affordable Care Act and are designed to combat obesity by helping consumers make healthier choices.
But the group of 24 lawmakers said the draft regulations, which apply to restaurants with 20 or more locations, go beyond Congress’ intent and would create painful new expenses for certain businesses, including delivery joints and eateries that specialize in made-to-order dishes
“Specifically, the proposed rule limits the ability of businesses to determine for themselves how best to provide nutritional information to customers,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “As a result, the proposal harms both those non-restaurants that were not intended to be captured by the menu labeling law as well as those restaurants that have flexibility and variability in the foods they offer.”
The lawmakers pressed the FDA to limit the scope of the regulations, which they say would harm small businesses that are already complying separately with the 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act.
Pizza places and grocery stores in particular have complained about the draft standards, saying they would be all but impossible to maintain. For instance, there are 34 million different combinations of pizza toppings, according to an industry trade group. It’s impractical to require that they list calorie counts for all of the options, they say.
At the same time, they probably could come up with calorie counts for 34 million different kinds of pizza before Healthcare.gov ever functions properly.