October 29, 2015 – ARLINGTON, VA – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) today commended Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Angus King (I-ME) for their leadership in bringing forward legislation (S. 2217) that addresses many outstanding challenges associated with implementation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s chain restaurant menu labeling rule in grocery stores.
FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin issued the following statement lauding the action in the Senate, saying, “I applaud Senators Blunt and King for their steadfast dedication to injecting some common sense into FDA’s application to grocery stores and other settings of regulations designed for chain-restaurant-style menus. This legislation is not about being ‘for’ or ‘against’ the inclusion of nutrition information on menus. If FDA wants ‘menu labeling’ at grocery stores, then let’s at least build some flexibility so it is worthwhile for consumers and workable in store environments. We have made every attempt to work with FDA throughout the past year, as we clearly need modifications to make this regulatory scheme work in a supermarket. With these legislative modifications, our food retailer and wholesaler members can more effectively integrate menu labeling into their current operations.”
Specifically, the Senate legislation would maintain but modify FDA’s menu labeling regulations by:
- Clarifying that the menu labeling law is intended for “standard menu items,” defined as those items prepared with uniformity and routinely included on a menu or menu board at 20 or more locations; not a food item that is sold at one or two stores;
- Allowing for supermarkets to use a menu or menu board in a prepared foods area or next to a salad bar rather than individually labeling every item;
- Allowing an establishment to take corrective actions within 90 days prior to federal, state or municipal enforcement and protecting against frivolous class-actions; and
- Providing flexibility within “reasonable basis” standards, in-store certifications, remote-ordering, multi-serving and variable items.
The Senate version of the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act does not exclude retailers from the menu labeling regulations, but allows some practicality for providing nutritional information to customers based on the different ways that foods are prepared and sold across various venues and formats.
FMI will continue engaging Congress, FDA and stakeholders willing to address as many of these problems as possible before enforcement of the menu labeling regulation begins.
Bill One-Page Summary
Menu Labeling Fact Sheet
Joint Letter of Support to Sen. Blunt
Joint Letter of Support to Sen. King