GOP Says the Right to Know What You’re Eating is Burdensome to Corporations

Despite the protests of many medical organizations, Republicans ignore the health cost to Americans in favor of corporate profits

GOP Says the Right to Know What You’re Eating is Burdensome to Corporations

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement Friday on House passage of H.R. 2017, sponsored by Rep. Cathy Rodgers (R-WA) the so-called Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, arguing that it’s just too expensive to inform consumers, and showing once again that House Republicans don’t care about the burden – cost or health-wise – to the general public:

“The government should not be placing more harmful barriers in the way of hardworking small businesses. This important legislation would roll back the FDA’s burdensome menu labeling rule, giving American restaurants, grocery and convenient stores the flexibility they need to be successful. I commend Cathy for her work on this measure.”

Right. Calories? Who cares? Never more, if congressional Republicans get their way, will restaurant, convenience store, grocery store, and pizzeria chains, have to tell you what you’re eating. If you’re on a diet – especially when it is a medically necessary diet to you know, keep you alive – you’ll just have to take your chances and forget that night out or game-day pizza.

This is not about small businesses. There is not even a pretense that this is not a giveaway to big corporations who want to rake in profits at your expense.

Paul Ryan argues it’s only “common sense” that Americans don’t need to know what is in the food they’re eating. Apparently, being able to make your own choices is “burdensome.” But what else to expect from a party that thinks even having access to healthcare is burdensome.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) claimed in defense of this nonsensical piece of legislation that, “We have a classic example of the administration overreaching with a top-down, big government approach.”

Because a top-down, big corporation approach is so much better. At least the government wants to protect us while corporations just want to make money.

President Obama has stated his opposition to the so-called Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) protested that is low on common sense, saying “This unnecessary legislation would deny consumers critical information about the food that we eat.” Critical is never burdensome.

Numerous organizations have signed “A Joint Statement in Opposition of H.R. 2017,” providing a cogent and powerful defense of the consumer’s right to know:

We, the undersigned organizations and researchers, oppose the “Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015.” We do not think that it is common sense to weaken a policy that would allow people to make their own, informed choices about how many
calories to eat at a time when obesity rates are at a record high. The bill would undercut the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) menu labeling regulations and undermine congressional intent to provide access to calorie labeling in a broad range of
chain food service establishments.

The national menu labeling law requires chain restaurants and similar food establishments to provide consumers with calorie information for standard food and beverage items on menus and menu boards. Studies show that providing nutrition
information at restaurants can help people make lower calorie choices, and a national poll found that 80 percent of Americans support calorie labeling at supermarkets and restaurants. H.R. 2017 would undermine the benefits of the national menu labeling law
and confuse and mislead consumers.

The signatories include the American Academy of Sports Dietitians and Nutritionists, American Cancer Society Cancer Action, the
American Council on Exercise, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Institute for Cancer Research, American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the American School Health Association, and the American Society of Bariatric Physicians.

Obviously, if you are on a diet for health reasons, as many people are, whether for your heart or diabetes or because you had bariatric surgery, it is very important to know and keep track of what you’re eating. This is not simply a matter of convenience to many people if they want to stay healthy or even alive. It is, as Rep. Schakowsky put it, critical.

Because the requirements being struck down are in the Affordable Care Act, this legislation qualifies as yet another Republican attack on Obamacare.

Naturally, the American Pizza Community (APC), which includes Domino’s, Little Caesars, Papa Murphy’s and Papa John’s – Peyton Manning’s safety-net hating buddy – love H.R. 2017. They already oppose paying employees a living wage. Why not get a dig in at their customers while they’re at it.

As an example of their opposition, you can view Domino’s specially made video here. Yes, telling you what you’re eating is, says Domino’s, “ridiculous.” For the record, the pizza industry gives 88 percent of its donations to Republicans.

Interestingly, however, Restaurant Business informs us, those requirements “are supported by the National Restaurant Association, which was urged by national chains to accept a federal mandate rather than leave them to contend with a patchwork of state, county and municipal laws.”

Obviously, the National Restaurant Association feels the Republican alternative is the burdensome option.

The Senate, of course, has its own version of this appalling piece of legislation (S. 2217), introduced by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) currently under consideration by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. For a bill to become law, both House and Senate must pass it, and the president must sign it. Republicans can count on Obama’s veto where this legislation is concerned.

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