"Our members strongly supported adoption of a national menu labeling law, and we look forward to the orderly implementation of these requirements," said NCCR Vice President Scott Vinson. "However, we have grave concerns regarding certain of the FDA's proposed interpretations of the legislation Congress passed and the President signed into law. We hope the FDA will carefully consider our comments and adjust the final regulations to be consistent with the statute." The National Council of Chain Restaurants has filed comments responding to menu labeling regulations proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), welcoming the proposal but asking for flexibility that would recognize differences between the restaurant industry and other foodservice sectors. In addition, the NCCR asked that the FDA modify its initial proposal to ensure a smooth program rollout to the diverse array of chain restaurant concepts and similar retail food establishments. According to the NCCR, the FDA's final regulations should incorporate a flexible approach in several key areas so that restaurants and other covered retailers are not burdened with unnecessary expenses and complexities, and consumers are provided information in ways that make sense and are easy to understand.In one example cited by NCCR in its 53 pages of comments, the FDA proposal includes an enforcement mechanism intended for the packaged food industry rather than the chain restaurant industry where food is prepared by hand and not machines. NCCR contends that the standard would be impossible for chain restaurants to comply with and would expose the industry's thousands of small business franchisees to massive legal liability.
A most important point that needs consideration is whether products made by different chefs will have same nutrient composition and if not how can the government expect each eatery to analyze its products to generate such information. Also of concern is whether the same preparation will have same composition every day and whether samples will have to be tested every day. The cost aspect in implementing this policy may become an important constraint with very few large restaurants being able to adopt the system. In stead of forcing the industry to strictly adhere to the law, a flexible regime would be more appropriate. Similarly wide latitude should be given in declaring the composition with variations allowed as much as 10-15% of the standard values shown on the label. Whether the customers will care for such information or the policy will have any impact on their health, is another matter, if the effect of labeling on packed foods in vogue for decades on the health of American consumers is any thing to go by!.