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Leading Democrats call for full implementation of menu labeling requirement by December 1, 2016

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) wrote a letter to Acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff commending the FDA for issuing draft guidance to help businesses comply with final menu labeling requirements and calling for full implementation by December 1, 2016. To ensure consumers have the nutritional information they need to make informed choices, the letter also asked the FDA to further clarify guidance by making clear that venues like concession stands in movie theatres and amusement parks must comply with the rules.

 

“Access to the nutrition information that will be made available by the menu labeling law is more important than ever to our national health, well-being, and economic future,” Murray and DeLauro wrote. “We urge you to finalize the guidance quickly and move forward with implementation without further delay, ensuring the December 1, 2016 compliance deadline is met.  We further ask the FDA to clarify the guidance to make it clear that concession stands in movie theatres, amusement parks, and other venues must comply by including them in the list of covered establishments. This will ensure that consumers have the tools they need to informed choices regarding the nutritional value of food offered for sale in restaurants as well as other settings where Americans eat restaurant-like food.”

 

Full text of the letter:

 

We commend FDA for issuing its draft guidance on menu labeling. Access to the nutrition information that will be made available by the menu labeling law is more important than ever to our national health, well-being, and economic future. Even as adult obesity has doubled in recent years, we have seen child obesity triple—to the point where one in every three children or adolescents in our nation is now overweight or obese.

 

It has now been more than five years since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed, including the law’s menu labeling provisions. Now, thanks to the recently released draft guidance, small and large businesses impacted by the new requirements have gotten clarity on a number of outstanding issues.  Therefore, we urge you to finalize the guidance quickly and move forward with implementation without further delay, ensuring the December 1, 2016 compliance deadline is met.

 

We further ask the FDA to clarify the guidance to make it clear that concession stands in movie theatres, amusement parks, and other venues must comply by including them in the list of covered establishments. This will ensure that consumers have the tools they need to informed choices regarding the nutritional value of food offered for sale in restaurants as well as other settings where Americans eat restaurant-like food.

 

A wealth of research shows that consumers make wiser health decisions when they have more information at their disposal. Our new menu labeling requirement will empower Americans to make more informed decisions about the food they eat—at the point of purchase. This is all the more important given that families now eat away from home more than twice as much as they did in 1970. An estimated one-third of calories are now consumed—and almost half of total food dollars are now spent—at restaurants and similar retail food establishments. Research shows that, where menu-labeling has taken effect, people who see the information use it to inform their purchasing decisions.

 

We look forward to receiving your response and urge the FDA to finalize the guidance quickly and move forward with implementation.