Bill threatens progress on transparency and choice at restaurants
Statement of CSPI Vice President for Nutrition Margo G. Wootan
Republicans want to know what they’re eating just as much as Democrats or independents do: 80 percent of Americans support menu labeling. Restaurant chains know this. That’s why most chain restaurants already are listing calories on menus and menu boards—even where and when they’re not yet required to do so. This is critical, because Americans consume over one-third of their calories from eating out, and research shows a link between eating out and obesity.
The restaurant industry and more than 100 nutrition and public health organizations and professionals supported the 2010 menu labeling law, which was the result of a bipartisan compromise. Domino’s pizza and many supermarkets and convenience stores are stuck in the 90s. They find the pending requirements too inconvenient. (Or perhaps Domino’s just finds it inconvenient that its large pepperoni pizza has 2,400 calories). Domino’s is leading the charge to keep consumers in the dark about what they’re eating in the form of HR 772, the anti-menu labeling bill being marked up by the House Energy and Commerce Committee today. It’s a frivolous bill, which would let chains obscure nutrition information by using arbitrary and unrealistic serving sizes, and to put the information where few customers will see it.
It’s disappointing that the same Members of Congress who voted to strip healthcare away from millions of Americans are now trying to make it harder for Americans to avoid diet-related diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Americans deserve to know what’s in their food.
If the anti-menu labeling bill passes the House, we hope the Senate will reject it as counter to common sense, good health, and consumers’ right to know.