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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed February 6th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 266 Yea / 157 Nay
      house Committees
      House Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Health
    IntroducedJanuary 31st, 2017

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What is it?

This bill would revise the nutritional information that certain restaurants and retail food establishments have to disclose to consumers. The requirements came from a 2014 rule on labeling from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that is scheduled to take effect on May 7, 2018. 

The rule applies to restaurants and other food retailers that receive more than half of their revenue from food sales. It establishes specific nutrition facts that food vendors must provide, including the number of:

  • Calories in the whole menu item;

  • Servings and the calories per serving;

  • Calories per common unit of a food item for multi-serving items that are divided before serving.

Under the rule, nutritional information can be given on a remote-access menu (like an internet menu) for businesses where food orders are mostly placed off the premises. Establishments with self-serve food can comply with the requirements for restaurants or place signs with nutritional information next to each food item.

Under this bill, a company’s nutrient content disclosures would be considered to have a “reasonable basis” if they fall within acceptable allowances for variation, like serving size, ingredients, and accidental human error.

Establishments with standard menu items that come in different flavors, varieties, or combinations that are listed as a single menu item would be allowed to determine and disclose nutritional information using specified methods or those used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Regulations created as a result of this legislation cannot take effect earlier than two years after the final regulations are released.

Impact

Consumers of food, food vendors, and the FDA.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) introduced this legislation to protect food vendors from an “unworkable” FDA regulation that would otherwise affect grocery stores, restaurants, and other food establishments:

“Whether you buy food at the local convenience store or eat out at the neighborhood diner, you should have access to important nutritional information. The FDA’s one-size-fits-all approach places additional burdens on the backs of our nation’s small business owners without giving them the flexibility they need to actually comply with the regulations. How businesses provide that information should be consistent with how their customers actually place orders – including by phone, online or through mobile apps.  By bringing this rule into the 21st Century, we can provide relief to our job creators and preserve important nutritional information for American families at the same time.”

During the last Congress, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed this legislation on a vote of 36-12 with one member voting present. It then passed the House on a 266-144 vote. Currently, the bill has the support of 47 cosponsors in the House, including six Democrats and 41 Republicans.


Of Note: The FDA first proposed its nutritional information rule in April 2011 before taking their final action in July 2011. After receiving public comments, the FDA delayed the rule’s effective date from six months after the rule’s final publication to one year, before again extending the compliance date to December 1, 2016. It was then extended into 2017 before the compliance date was pushed back once again to May 7, 2018.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Laine Trees)

AKA

Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to improve and clarify certain disclosure requirements for restaurants and similar retail food establishments, and to amend the authority to bring proceedings under section 403A.

    Another distraction, more regulations from Obamacare to blame restaurants. Violation carries civil and criminal penalties up to 1,000 fine and one year in prison or both. Impossible to comply with rules that impose significant compliance costs without achieving any meaningful improvement in consumer education. Yet Monsanto has its own Monsanto protection act which bans the courts from stopping the sale of genetically modified seeds. GMO a plant or animal that has been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants or animals. Weather we like it or not we are eating genetically manipulated food without consent. Seriously, I worked in restaurants, 300 pages of regulations for a menu is junk. Forcing many restaurants out of business and placing a drain on the economy. While the real criminal is protected and gains even more control. Typical of the communist tyrant BHO administration.
    Like (54)
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    Why is it even an issue that we need to question what's in our food and whether or not we have a right to know? Especially for people with life threatening food allergies & other health concerns, we need to know what's in our food!
    Like (297)
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    Who wouldn't want to know what is in the food they're eating? Delaying this would only reduce the time people can get the information they need to make decisions on what goes into their body.
    Like (113)
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    Much like farm bills that tout "family farms" but are backed by Monsanto and other corporations, I wonder who is really benefiting from this bill. Dominoes is a major national chain and yet they're the only "small business" mentioned by the bill sponsor. What corporations and lobbying groups are supporting this bill, and why? The existing rule sounds pretty common sense as it is.
    Like (73)
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    People need to be able to EASILY access the nutritional information in what they are eating. Just because the restaurant and pharmaceutical industries don't want informed consumers, doesn't mean consumers don't want to be informed. Represent your constituents, this should not be delayed.
    Like (48)
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    What goes onto our bodies is important. We need our government to protect us from toxins, poisons, and nutritionally harmful substances—or, at the very least—to be forewarned.
    Like (31)
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    This bill is introduced and heavily supported by the House Republicans, but it is a bipartisan supported bill because it is a common sense solution to the overly complex regulations the Food and Drug Administration finalized in November 2014. The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act passed the House in the 114th Congress by a strong bipartisan vote of 266-144. This bill ensures that consumers continue to have access to important nutritional information, while also providing flexibility for businesses to use and leverage 21st Century technology to display the information. The act does not diminish the amount of nutritional information that must be provided by restaurants and retailers and instead only clarifies the unworkable and overly complex FDA regulations finalized in November 2014. Immediate enactment of the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act reconciles the FDA’s one-size-fits-all regulation ahead of its full compliance date of May 5, 2017 – a mere three months away. A failure to fix the regulation will force America’s business owners to begin preparation for compliance – if they have not been forced to do so already – to avoid excessive civil and criminal penalties. That compliance comes at a high cost, especially for small business owners. It’s estimated that this regulation will cost nearly $1 billion – and that’s just for grocers. Coupled with the predicted 14.5 million hours of paperwork, this is one of the most expensive and onerous regulations of the Obama administration. I am particularly supportive of this bill because of the bipartisan way in which it has been handled and because it demonstrates that the Obama administration, like all administrations before it had good ideas, but faulty execution. That faulty execution was in part due to a failure on the part of Republicans to engage in the process of governing by doing their job to ADVISE and consent. This bill also offers an excellent example of how legislators can work together for the good of the American people. With the passage of every bill like this, developed through bipartisan negotiations, our legislators are developing proper connections to each other and to the members of the opposition in both legislative bodies. Success on smaller bills can form the basis for genuine the openness and collegiality that can support lawmakers when they are faced with more partisan issues. I say two thumbs up 👍 👍for this effort!
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    Food labels should reflect all ingredients including GMO.
    Like (17)
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    This is a burden on business and not needed, maybe 1 out of 10 read the labels we have now
    Like (17)
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    BOYCOTT THE GOP !! WELL THANK YOU DENNY HECK FOR VOTING TO STOP DELAYING OUR PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT THEY ARE PUTTING IN OUR FOOD !!! WE AS CONSUMERS NEED TO KNOW IF OUR FOOD IS BEING POISONED BY THE CORPORATE FOOD INDUSTRY !! SAD SAD SAD THAT THIS BILL WAS PASSED BY THE FOR GREED AND PROFIT REPUBLICONNS !!!
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    While I believe that common sense regulations are necessary in the food industry, and that people ought to be able to know what is in their food, I believe this FDA requirement poses significant challenges to small, independent restaurants. As someone who worked in the restaurant industry for nearly two decades, mostly independently owned establishments, I can tell you that compliance here would be a death sentence to many small restaurants. It's not because they are trying to hide anything, but merely because small restaurant owners already work 80+ hours per week, and have hundreds of other compliance tasks to deal with already, in addition to the job of running the restaurant itself. Perhaps it would be reasonable to ask them to post a ballpark calorie content and list of ingredients, but in terms of breaking down individual nutrients, they are not food scientists, and should not be required to be. This is one of those measures that sounds like a good idea, but is hugely impractical, and would be detrimental to many small business owners. If you enforce labeling requirements of the food manufacturers who supply restaurateurs, then maybe it's feasible to say that they have to have a separate book that contains the nutritional labels of all of the things they use as ingredients, which is available at all times upon the request of customers. Even still, if they procure meats, cheeses, produce, etc from small local farmers who are themselves small businesses, even this gets tricky. I think once a restaurant posts caloric information and a thorough ingredient list, it should be up to the consumer to learn more about the nutritional contents of those items.
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    Can't wait to read the menu. At lest it's not in French. Love the accents as well as fries.
    Like (9)
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    Two years is too much of a delay in implementation.
    Like (8)
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    If I go to Mcdonalds I am well aware of the lack of healthy eating I am doing. This should not be a requirement to disclose. This falls under something I feel the free market would correct on its own, no need for government regulation. If McDonalds did this and Burger King did not people who wanted this would go to McDonalds. Burger King would either start doing it to gain back lost business or would continue to do so until it was just industry standard. The power is in the people stop saying the government is smarter than the individual when it comes to the individual's choices
    Like (8)
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    It would be nice to know when I take a chance at a restaurant to know what I am truly eating. I am constantly dealing with food allergies and reactions from food enhancers.
    Like (6)
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    People should be allowed to know what they are eating.
    Like (6)
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    With 2/3 of the population being overweight or obese, it's more important than ever to know what (and how many calories) we are putting into our bodies. Nutrition is the true universal health plan, but it's not the easy thing to do. We need to make it as simple as possible for citizens to know what they are putting into their bodies.
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    Stop with the over regulation.
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    Wasn’t this pushed through 3 years ago? Ample time for businesses to adjust by now.
    Like (5)
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    Why should nutritional information not be offered immediately?
    Like (4)
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