Food Labeling

Lawmakers Attempt to Stop Obamacare Food-Labeling Mandates

Say they go much further than they intended and would be impossible to implement

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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."