In November 2014, the Food and Drug Administration issued its “menu labeling” regulation which will require any retail establishment that is part of a chain of 20 or more stores and sells restaurant-style food to post the caloric content of those offerings in the store. Unfortunately, the FDA’s rules, while appropriate for some chain restaurants, do not work for many other types of food retailers. The rules are not easily applied to convenience stores and must be amended in a way to make compliance feasibly possible. In July 2015, FDA announced a one year delay in implementation of their final rule, meaning it won’t take effect until December 2016 – this is good news but does not solve the problem.
Reps. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) have introduced HR 2017, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015 which will amend the rules to make compliance possible. Implementation of HR 2017 would result in consumers getting more nutrition information and a greater amount of choices.
Foodservice has become an increasingly important component of the convenience store business. The successful model for the industry is moving toward a multi-service establishment that offers the consumer not only the gas they need for their vehicles but also a place to pick up groceries, grab meals on the go, etc. Many in the industry have their own foodservice business or partner with other chains. A new uniform standard for the industry can be a positive development, but it must be written in such a way to allow sufficient flexibility for retailers with different formats to be able to comply. Otherwise, it will subject many convenience stores to unnecessary and burdensome regulatory obligations.
NACS supports HR 2017 as well as similar legislation due to be introduced in the United States Senate.
NACS worked with U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) to introduce H.R. 2017, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Angus King (I-ME) are expected to introduce the same legislation in the Senate. The legislation would codify a less burdensome approach to menu labeling by providing needed compliance flexibility that will allow convenience stores to provide customers with more information and continue to offer more choices. The FDA is expected to release formal guidance for covered stores detailing how to comply with the current rule as written.