Provisions Offer Extension on Menu Labeling, COOL Repeal for Meat and Tax Extenders

Food Marketing Institute (FMI) offered the following statement on the long-awaited omnibus and tax extenders package, which gave the food retail industry reason to applaud several victories. FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin commented on the following provisions:

Chain Restaurant Menu Labeling Regulations:
“Our work alongside lawmakers this year is evident in that several provisions were included in the omnibus language. Most notably, FMI is pleased that Congress included language – contained earlier this year in the House Agriculture Appropriations legislation – to ensure that supermarkets have the benefit of understanding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidance on how to label items not on a menu for one full year before they have to comply with the cumbersome menu labeling law. Tying compliance requirements to the publication of FDA’s guidance for menu labeling alleviates some of the urgency supermarkets expressed in having to make implementation decisions under a cloud of confusion. This also gives FDA time to fix some of the problems before implementation.”

Country of Origin Labeling:
“Our industry should be pleased that Congress will help avert $1 billion in devastating retaliatory tariffs by repealing mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for beef and pork products that were in violation of World Trade Organization trade standards.”

Tax Extenders:
“On the tax front, most provisions are extended for two years or more, including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (5 years) and purchase incentives around bonus depreciation (5 years with phase out). The package also included language providing permanent 15-year depreciation for qualified leaseholder improvements.”

Partially Hydrogenated Oils:
“Our industry appreciates the inclusion of particularly helpful language that mitigates potential frivolous litigation regarding partially hydrogenated oils.”

GMO Labeling:
“While we conclude the 2015 legislative session on several positive notes, we were extremely disappointed that lawmakers did not include a federal standard for GMO labeling. Still, we remain positive, since leaders of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee have already indicated that they will press for action in January and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has indicated his willingness to also engage.”