Regulation Nation: FDA Menu Labeling

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(FOX NEWS) – Tonight’s regulation nation story– is a real world illustration of the old saying:– “give them an inch– and they’ll take a mile.”

It began– as a way to provide nutritional information– for restaurant customers.

But FOX News Correspondent Shannon Bream tells us– it isn’t stopping there.

Most within the restaurant industry were on board with requirements stemming from the new health care law – requiring them to provide nutritional information on their menus – but when the food and drug administration decided to extend that mandate to many supermarkets and convenience stores in the form of a new federal regulation – store owners were alarmed.

Heinen says: “well they would be very burdensome.”

Under this proposed regulation – thousands of stores would be forced to label unpackaged foods like those found in a salad bar, hot foods, soups and your favorite bakery items.

The Food Marketing Institute estimates the regulation would cost retailers a billion dollars in just the first year.

Heinen says: “well I mean the supermarket industry is a business that’s well known, that our net profit line and average and has been forever is 1 percent. So when you incur a significant cost there is no way that that doesn’t get passed onto the customer in some form.”

And there are some stiff penalties.

Lieberman says: “if you get it wrong, get this – it’s a federal crime and you could face jail time and thousands of dollars worth of fines.”

The FDA says:
“these nutrition labeling requirements should help consumers to make more informed choices about the nutritional content of the food they purchase. [the information] should help consumers limit excess calorie intake and understand how the foods that they purchase at these establishments fit within their daily caloric and other nutritional needs.”

Critics of the proposed regulation say the FDA failed to complete a cost-benefit analysis of the regulation, in order to justify its necessity.

Lieberman says: “absolutely they are required to do it and they didn’t. They simply said we can’t quantify a benefit from this rule and that’s because they really can’t.”

The FDA says it has received hundreds of public comments on the proposed regulation and will consider them before issuing a final rule,

Which the agency says will include that economic analysis.

In Washington, Shannon Bream, FOX News.