The rules for posting calorie information on menus have become unreasonably complex and annoying under Obamacare. Ironically, the FDA’s latest attempts to clarify the regulations have complicated things even more.
The 53-page document released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week says a coupon can be a menu and offers a 109-word definition of “restaurant-type food.” …Violations of the regulation can carry a $1,000 fine or prison time. The FDA said they intend to work with state and local authorities to “ensure that implementation and enforcement of the menu labeling requirements are uniformly applied.”
The definition for “restaurant-type food” is lengthy, beginning with “Food that is usually eaten on the premises, while walking away, or soon after arriving at another location.”
The guidance does little to clear up its vague definition of what constitutes a menu. The document uses the same definition for menu as the final rule, which describes a “menu” as any writing that “can be used by a customer to make an order selection at the time the customer views the writing.” Restaurants complained that under this broad definition, television advertisements and flyers could be considered a menu. The guidance addresses this issued by stating that advertising and marketing materials “generally” would not be considered menus, but that coupons could be.
It reminds me of the Ronald Reagan quote that keeps on giving as the government keeps on growing….. “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Not only are these regulations a profound waste of time for business owners, they are going to be costly- especially for the smaller chains with only 20 or so locations who can’t afford to rebrand all their store locations and all their promotional and informational materials. That cost will inevitably be reflected in price increases, and possibly even cutting hours and job positions for low income individuals who need the work.
Once again, the government has found a way to hurt the very people they are trying to “help.”