Trump administration moves ahead with Obama menu-label law

FILE - This Aug. 24, 2017 file photo, shows a KFC menu with calorie counts in New York. The Trump administration is moving ahead with a law from the Obama years that will require calorie counts to appear on foods served at restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores and pizza delivery chains nationwide. The FDA posted recommendations Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 to help businesses comply with the law. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is moving ahead with Obama-era requirements to post calorie counts in restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores and pizza delivery chains nationwide next year.

 

Despite years of opposition by some food sellers, the Food and Drug Administration is offering only minor compromises to industry complaints about the difficulties of displaying calories at takeout chains, self-service buffets and other non-restaurant food locations.

The FDA posted a preliminary guidance online Tuesday to help businesses comply with the law.

Trump appointees have delayed or upended regulations passed by the Obama administration including rules for water pollution, fuel emissions and policing for-profit universities. But the menu labeling rules, championed by former first lady Michelle Obama, appear on track to take effect next May after years of delays. Behind the law is the idea that people may think twice about buying their daily doughnut at the gas station if they see how many hundreds of calories it contains.

“When you arm consumers with reliable information, they are going to make better decisions, smarter and more informed decisions about their diet,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. “Providing this information is more important now than ever because more people are eating their meals away from the home.”

In a key move, the FDA rejected requests from pizza chains, including Domino’s , which wanted to post calorie information on websites instead of each store location, arguing that most customers don’t visit their physical locations. However, the agency said stores have a variety of options for displaying calorie counts beyond traditional menu boards, including electronic kiosks, tablet devices and even paper menus.

“At first glance, there appears to be some progress, showing that the FDA is listening to concerns,” Domino’s spokesman Tim McIntyre said in an email.

However, he added that the company still wants Congress to intervene to change the law. Industry groups are backing legislation in the House of Representatives that addresses many of their concerns.

Pizza chains have argued that displaying calorie counts doesn’t make sense because most of customers don’t come into the store.

 

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