FranchiseClique Web Staff
June 15, 2011
By Emily Maltby
Four members of Congress have written a letter to the Food and Drug Administration asking the agency to consider the needs of small businesses as it implements a provision in last year’s health-care overhaul requiring eateries to disclose nutritional information.
Under the law, restaurants with more than 20 locations will be required to post calorie counts on their menu boards as of a to-be-determined date. The letter’s signatories, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), request that the law not place undue burden on small firms. As it stands, individual operators of just a few franchised restaurants would have to finance changes to stay in compliance, according to the letter.
“While restaurants are very meaningful job creating businesses, many restaurants continue to face very difficult economic challenges,” the letter reads. “Restaurants will be unable to reinvest in their businesses [given] the monies they spend complying with the proposed […] rule, resulting in the creation of fewer jobs.”
In their letter, the Republican lawmakers make specific requests to the FDA, such as allowing franchisees to provide a pamphlet with nutritional information next to drive-through menu boards. The reason, they say, is some locations may not have the space to include all the requested information and others will have to contend with zoning laws regulating the size of the boards. Another recommendation is to allow franchisees to post the caloric information on a large poster adjacent to the menu board, so that when scientific nutritional information changes, the business owners wouldn’t have to cover the recurring cost of replacing the entire menu.
Once the FDA makes a final rule on the specific regulations of the law owners will have six months to comply. (See the agency’s proposed rule here.) For more information on the law, the National Restaurant Association has a list of frequently asked questions on its website.
This originally appeared on the Wall Street Journal's blog In Charge.