April 17 2017
Did you know that pizzas contain calories?
The government obviously thinks that this unpalatable truth has never crossed your mind.
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal notes:
An FDA rule to take effect May 5 requires chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menus. The regulation also covers movie theaters, grocery stores, breweries and other establishments with more than 20 locations. The rule, required by the Affordable Care Act, has been revised and twice delayed in six years, mostly due to objections from a trade coalition called the American Pizza Community. (Regrettably, it does not issue membership cards.)
The more than 100-page rule, perhaps the longest meditation on fast food ever published, says that pizza purveyors must display per slice calorie ranges. Dominos offers 34 million potential combinations, and the number of pepperonis on a pizza can vary based on whether a customer also tosses on green peppers or something else. FDA suggests displaying verbiage like “pepperoni—200 added calories for a one-topping pizza” for every topping. Better have a calculator when ordering.
The regulation also defines menu to include advertisements or flyers that list a phone number or website for ordering—in other words, marketing material. The restaurant must certify that the store made “reasonable” efforts to ensure that calorie estimates are accurate, though the minds behind this rule don’t sound like reliable arbiters of reasonableness. The penalty for noncompliance is fines, jail or, this being America, class-action lawsuits.
This impossible pizza regime reflects the ethos of the Obama administration to a T.
The editorial points out that the Trump administration could delay or rethink the rule until Congress has had time to act. Doing so won't make pizzas more or less fattening but it could cut down on compliance costs and give a break to those who sell prepared food.