Statement from Margo G. Wootan, CSPI Nutrition Policy Director
Research shows that consumers want and use calorie labeling at restaurants and other retailers that offer restaurant-type food. Already, many major restaurant chains, supermarkets, and other retailers are displaying calories in advance of the May 5 implementation date.
Yet, here they go again. From a failed attempt to get out of the original law to this last-minute petition to the Trump Administration, the grocery and convenience store industries have been trying for over a decade to weasel their way out of providing calorie information to their customers.
Now, the National Grocers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores, seeing an anti-regulatory shift at the White House, have petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to stay the effective date and rewrite the menu labeling rule to weaken it and exempt chain convenience stores and supermarkets.
If Nathan’s Famous can clearly disclose calories for hot dogs, so should 7-11 and supermarkets that sell them. Au Bon Pain, Panera, and Publix supermarkets are already labeling their muffins and other baked goods; other chain supermarkets and convenience stores can too.
Americans consume one-third of their calories from eating out, on average. Studies link eating out with obesity and higher caloric intakes. Though not all studies are large enough to measure an effect of menu labeling, many show that providing nutrition information at restaurants can help people make lower calorie choices and spur reformulation of existing food items and the introduction of healthier items.