ARLINGTON, VA – March 21, 2013 – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) today backs legislation that will direct the Food and Drug Administration to implement a restaurant menu labeling provision enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in the way in which Congress originally intended: to provide a uniform standard for chain restaurants with 20 or more locations in order to preempt the various state and local menu labeling laws. FMI Regulatory Counsel Erik Lieberman released the following statement in support of efforts by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) to reintroduce the bipartisan Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, H.R. 1249, into the 113th Congress:

“Congress never intended for supermarkets to be regulated under menu labeling, and this bipartisan legislation reflects concerns that the agency has overreached. PPACA [Patient Protection Affordable Care Act] did not grant FDA authority to regulate supermarkets as restaurants.  FDA has even acknowledged in the rule that Congress did not direct them to regulate grocery stores.

“This legislation emphasizes that food retailers do not want to argue over semantics or assumptions. The language, ‘similar retail food establishments,’ never meant to cover traditional grocery stores. By definition, grocery stores are not restaurants, and traditional supermarkets do not have menus or menu boards for displaying similar information as restaurants.

“The vast majority of foods in supermarkets are already labeled with complete Nutrition Facts information. The menu labeling rule imposes a billion-dollar burden on supermarkets — without even a penny’s worth of consumer benefit quantified by FDA. Our industry is rooted in customer service and value, so we commend Representatives McMorris Rodgers and Sanchez for introducing legislation that will preserve consumer choice and prevent increased costs at the register.

“Retailers, lawmakers and consumers all share responsibility in health and wellness, and supermarkets have been championing the needs of their customers to find the most effective ways of assisting consumers in identifying nutritious foods.”

For media upon request:
  • Copy of joint letter supporting and outlining H.R. 1249 from Reps. McMorris Rodgers and Sanchez
  • Joint industry backgrounder on H.R. 1249
  • FMI backgrounder on restaurant menu labeling regulation implications
  • Copy of FDLI’s Food and Drug Policy Forum, Erik Lieberman, Volume 2, Issue 13, July 11, 2012