In 2010, the Obama administration passed a new FDA law as part of the Affordable Care Act. The new law requires food chains with more than 20 locations to post calorie count information for their menu items. Although there have been many delays in implementing the law, it finally went into effect on Monday. Some big corporations, like Starbucks and McDonalds, have been posting calorie counts for a while now, knowing that the FDA law would eventually take effect, according to CNBC.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said in a statement that there are many benefits to the new law. He hopes that it will help people make better, healthier choices based on “science-based information.” Gottlieb noted that the FDA worked with the food industry to make modifications to the regulations to offer more flexibility.
However, some members of the food industry are calling the law “inflexible” and “anti-business,” reported Yahoo News. Opponents include the National Restaurant Association, and the chair of the American Pizza Community, Tim McIntyre, who had some criticism.
“Regrettably, FDA’s one-size-fits-all approach demonstrates a stunning lack of understanding about consumer preferences and the pizza category. Pizza’s unique ordering variations create countless combinations making it difficult to accurately deliver information on printed menu boards and costly to maintain.”
ABC News added that opponents say it’s a process that’s a huge waste of money, and some sectors of the industry say it’s nearly impossible to offer accurate information. Whether it’s custom pizzas or sandwiches, it’s difficult and “arduous” in some cases to offer accurate calorie counts.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest also believes that the new law could be manipulated by restaurants, which could designate serving sizes that are misleading. For example, the serving size could be a very small portion, which could make a dish appear to be healthier than it actually is, to the undiscerning consumer.
The Trump administration allowed the law to go into effect. The enforcement of the law is not expected to be harsh, at least now. Gottlieb said that, “Nobody is going to be hammered for not having everything in place,” according to Bustle.
Additionally, food labeling regulations will change for packaged food, and any company making more than $10 million in annual food sales will be expected to comply with new rules by January 1, 2020. These include nutrition fact labels with bigger fonts, differentiation between naturally occurring sugars and added sugars, and a new footnote.
All in all, the new laws are designed to hopefully give consumers more information in order to help them make better decisions regarding their food intake when they’re eating out.