Movie Theaters and Grocery Stores fight Calorie Disclosure Rule

Mar 16, 2011   

Movie theater chains and grocery stores may have to disclose the nutritional content of their prepared foods. As we previously posted (here and here), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) contains a provision that requires chain restaurants with at least 20 locations in the United States to post calorie, fat, and other nutritional information of menu items. Movie theater chains and grocery stores are currently fighting and lobbying the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to avoid having to disclose the nutritional content of their prepared foods.

Movie theater chains argue that Congress did not mention theaters in the law and the idea of regulating movie theater chains never came up in legislative hearings. Like theaters, grocery stores are also arguing that Congress never intended to regulate supermarkets and the nutritional disclosure requirements should not apply to grocery stores. Theater chains are recommending the FDA exempt companies that get less than 35 percent of gross revenue from food sales.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) disagrees with movie theater lobbyists and insists that movie theater chains were supposed to be targeted by the mandate. Rep. DeLauro, who sponsored a food-labeling bill in the House that was incorporated into the health-care law, stated that the requirement “is meant to let people know what it is that theyre consuming.” Echoing that sentiment, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) wanted a broad definition of retail food operations to include movie theaters and grocery stores because people often buy prepared foods at the these establishments.

The FDA is expected to issue proposed rules for nutritional disclosure in the near future. Fuerst Ittleman will continue to monitor the FDAs progress. For more information on how the nutritional disclosure rule applies to your business, please contact us at contact@fidjlaw.com.