ObamaCare's Menu Labeling Regs Hike Costs and Stifle Creativity


ObamaCare’s Menu Labeling Regs Hike Costs and Stifle Creativity
by Dr. Susan Berry

2 Dec 2012, 6:43 AM PDT

The American Pizza Community, a coalition of the nation’s largest pizza companies, regional chains, and small franchise operators, is supporting passage of the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Ace of 2012, a bill to reform the new menu labeling regulations that have been included in ObamaCare. According to President Obama’s own Office of Management and Budget, the menu display requirements of ObamaCare rank as the third most burdensome statutory constraint enacted that year.

For the pizza industry, the new regulations require cumbersome and costly menu boards that must contain calorie information for each variety of whole pizza that is prepared in the restaurant. Ironically, however, customers of many pizza establishments will never even see the elaborate menu boards, which could cost about $5,000 per location, since most generally call in a delivery order without ever stepping foot inside the restaurant. Increased costs for menu boards are likely to be passed on to customers.

The regulations for the menu boards are so detailed that pizza shop owners must comply even with font sizes of lettering used, as dictated by the FDA. New products, changes in prices, or the addition of new pizza toppings would require the purchase of a new menu board. In addition, a proposed new product would have to be shipped to a lab for testing and certification at a cost of about $500.

This beastly set of regs boggles my ability to summarize their effects! Bottom line, the regs impose a huge expense (how many pizzas do you have to sell to get a profit of $5000 to offset the cost of the regs?!) on each and every restaurant, set up a huge barrier to creativity and response to customer demand (what will the fine be for making a pizza that isn’t on the menu board that is requested by a customer?), and set a forest of legal traps for restaurants (“You changed pepperoni vendors? Did you test your new vendor’s product?” “Your sausage vendor uses a different variety of pig for its pork. Do you really imagine pork is pork is pork?!”). And government-specified font and size? In restaurants whose signage and menus often use fonts designed to fit the restaurant’s style or theme? I know, bread bakeries (Hostess Brands) and pizza restaurants aren’t thrilling high-tech or heavy industry businesses, so @#$% 'em. And after government and unions kill off those boring businesses, who will be next?!

And could some one explain what restaurant menu boards have to do with “healthcare”?!