May 30 2012

Pizza Politics

Julie Gunlock

I'm glad to see restaurants fighting back against the useless menu labeling requirements that were put into the Obamacare bill.  I've written previously about the studies which show these labels to be largely ignored by the customers they are designed to help make better food decisions.  In fact, one large study showed that people actually order items with more calories when they presented with calorie information.

Now it appears a coalition of pizza companies are joinging forces to lobby for more flexibility.

The reason is obvious.  How will these menu label requirements impact pizza restaurants who allow customers to design their own pizzas?  In other words, that pineapple, pepperoni, green olive, spinach, extra cheese concoction you love to order from your local pie joint won't be allowed under these new requirements. Why? Because the feds want you to know the exact number of calories in the food you choose to eat.  This gets pretty complicated (and impossible to track) if restaurants let you make up your own combinations, as is commonly allowed at pizza restaurants. 

This new effort to lobby against these Obamacare food labeling regulations is thus far limited to a coalition of pizza companies but other restaurant companies and consumers should start asking questions.

How will these regulations impact a restaurants ability to be creative? Will restaurants be able to add new items to their menus?  Will they be required to get federal approval before tweaking menu items?  Will consumers be allowed to make special dietary requests?  Will you be able to switch out chicken for shrimp in your favorite pasta dish?  Will you be allowed to get that sub sandwich without tomatoes?

Not if the feds, and their obsession with your own personal food decisions have their way.

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