There is a ton of misinformation out there about the healthcare bills working their way through Congress, but here is a something that is actually in the bill. It would require nutrition labels on fast food, like Big Macs, and nutrition information to be posted about the contents of vending machines.
Sec. 2572 of the bill states, “Except for food described in subclause (vii), in the case of food that is a standard menu item that is offered for sale in a restaurant or similar retail food establishment that is part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name (regardless of the type of ownership of the locations) and offering for sale substantially the same menu items, the restaurant or similar retail food establishment shall disclose the information described in subclauses (ii) and (iii).”
Here is how the nutritional information must be displayed, “in a nutrient content disclosure statement adjacent to the name of the standard menu item, so as to be clearly associated with the standard menu item, on the menu board, including a drive-through menu board, the number of calories contained in the standard menu item, as usually prepared and offered for sale; and
(bb) a succinct statement concerning suggested daily caloric intake, as specified by the Secretary by regulation and posted prominently on the menu board, designed to enable the public to understand, in the context of a total daily diet, the significance of the nutrition information that is provided on the menu board;
(III) in a written form, available on the premises of the restaurant or similar retail establishment and to the consumer upon request, the nutrition information required under clauses (C) and (D) of subparagraph (1); and
(IV) on the menu or menu board, a prominent, clear, and conspicuous statement regarding the availability of the information described in item (III).”
Remember that this section only applies to areas that have 20 or more vending machines, so it likely won’t apply to most office and school vending machines. It makes perfect sense to require nutritional information on fast food packages. I doubt that having the info will deter consumers from having that upsized meal, but those same consumers deserve the right to read about what they are eating.
Some conservatives will be outraged by what they see as government interference with the private sector, but those same people have demonstrated that will get upset by almost anything that the Democrats do. This provision is a great example of how easy it for a bill to expand to over 2,000 pages.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association