H.R. 3895 (110th): MEAL Act

110th Congress, 2007–2009. Text as of Oct 18, 2007 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

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110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 3895

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 18, 2007

(for herself, Mr. Waxman, Ms. Woolsey, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Emanuel, Mr. George Miller of California, Mr. Hinchey, Ms. McCollum of Minnesota, Ms. Zoe Lofgren of California, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. McGovern, and Ms. Kaptur) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

A BILL

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to extend the food labeling requirements of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 to enable customers to make informed choices about the nutritional content of standard menu items in large chain restaurants.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Menu Education and Labeling Act or the MEAL Act.

2.

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

research continues to reveal that—

(A)

there is a strong link between diet and health; and

(B)

diet-related diseases start early in life;

(2)
(A)

increased caloric intake is a key factor contributing to the alarming increase in obesity in the United States;

(B)

according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2/3 of American adults are overweight or obese, and the rates of obesity have doubled in children and tripled in teens since 1980;

(C)

obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, several types of cancer, and other health problems; and

(D)

the annual cost of obesity to families, businesses, and governments in the United States is $117,000,000,000;

(3)

over the past 2 decades, there has been a significant increase in the number of meals prepared or eaten outside the home, with an estimated 1/3 of calories and almost half of total food dollars being spent on food purchased from or eaten at restaurants and other food-service establishments;

(4)
(A)

excess saturated fat intake is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States; and

(B)

heart disease is a leading cause of disability among working adults and its impact on the United States economy is significant, estimated in 2005 to total $142,000,000,000 in healthcare expenditures and lost productivity;

(5)
(A)

increased sodium intake is associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, or hypertension, a condition that can lead to cardiovascular disease, especially stroke; and

(B)

the proportion of adults with high blood pressure is 45 percent at age 50, 60 percent at age 60, and more than 70 percent at age 70;

(6)

the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (Public Law 101–535) requires food manufacturers to provide nutrition information on almost all packaged foods, however, restaurant foods are exempt from those requirements unless a nutrient content or health claim is made for a menu item;

(7)

about 75 percent of adults report using food labels on packaged foods, which is associated with eating more healthful diets, and approximately half of people report that the nutrition information on food labels has caused them to change their minds about buying a food product;

(8)

it is difficult for consumers to limit their intake of calories at restaurants, given the limited availability of nutrition information;

(9)

studies show that consumers would like nutrition information to be provided at the time of ordering their food at a restaurant, at the point of the sale, so as to enable them to make an educated decision regarding what to order; and

(10)

a call to action from the Surgeon General and Secretary of Health and Human Services recommends that, to reduce the incidence of obesity, there be increased availability of nutrition information for foods eaten and prepared away from home.

3.

Nutrition labeling of standard menu items at Chain Restaurants

Section 403(q)(5) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 343(q)(5)) is amended—

(1)

in clause (A)—

(A)

in subclause (i), by inserting except as provided in clauses (H) and (I), before which the first place it appears; and

(B)

in subclause (ii), by inserting except as provided in clauses (H) and (I), before which the first place it appears; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(H)

Restaurants and retail food establishments

(i)

In general

Except for food described in subclause (iii), in the case of food that is served, processed, or prepared in a restaurant or similar retail food establishment that is part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same trade name (regardless of the type of ownership of the locations), the restaurant or establishment shall disclose the information described in subclause (ii).

(ii)

Information required to be disclosed

Except as provided in subclause (iii), the establishment shall disclose—

(I)
(aa)

in a statement adjacent to the name of the food on any menu listing the food for sale, or by any other means deemed equivalent by the Secretary, the number of calories, grams of saturated fat plus trans fat, and milligrams of sodium contained in a standard serving of the food, as usually offered for sale, in a clear and conspicuous manner; and

(bb)

information, specified by the Secretary by regulation, designed to enable the public to understand, in the context of a total daily diet, the significance of the nutrition information that is provided; and

(II)

in a statement adjacent to the name of the food on any menu board or other sign listing the food for sale, or by any other means deemed equivalent by the Secretary—

(aa)

the number of calories contained in a serving of the food, as usually offered for sale, in a clear and conspicuous manner; and

(bb)

notification that the information required by subitems (aa) and (bb) of item (I) shall be provided in writing at the request of a prospective purchaser.

(iii)

Nonapplicability to certain food

This clause does not apply to—

(I)

items that are not listed on a menu or menu board (such as condiments and other items placed on the table or counter for general use); or

(II)

daily specials, temporary menu items, or other irregular menu items, as specified by the Secretary by regulation.

(iv)

Self-service facilities

In the case of food sold at a salad bar, buffet line, cafeteria line, or similar self-service facility, a restaurant or other establishment shall place a sign that lists calories per standard serving adjacent to each food offered.

(v)

Voluntary provision of nutrition information; state regulation of nutrition information for restaurant food

(I)

Retail food establishments

Nothing in this clause precludes a restaurant or similar retail food establishment from providing additional nutrition information, voluntarily, if the information complies with the nutrition labeling requirements contained in this subparagraph.

(II)

State or local requirements

Nothing in this clause precludes a State or political subdivision of a State from requiring that a restaurant or similar food establishment provide nutrition information in addition to that required under this clause.

(vi)

Regulations

(I)

Proposed regulation

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this clause, the Secretary shall promulgate proposed regulations to carry out this clause.

(II)

Contents

The regulations shall allow for the variations in serving sizes and in food preparation that can reasonably be expected to result from inadvertent human error, training of food service workers, and other factors.

(III)

Final regulations

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this clause, the Secretary shall promulgate final regulations to implement this clause.

(IV)

Failure to promulgate final regulations by required date

If the Secretary does not promulgate final regulations under item (III) by the date that is 2 years after the date of enactment of this clause—

(aa)

the proposed regulations issued in accordance with item (I) shall become effective as the final regulations on the day after that date; and

(bb)

the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register notice of the final regulations.

(I)

Vending machines

(i)

In general

In the case of an article of food sold from a vending machine that—

(I)

does not permit a prospective purchaser to examine the article so as to be able to read a statement affixed to the article before purchasing the article; and

(II)

is operated by a person that is engaged in the business of owning and operating 20 or more vending machines;

the vending machine operator shall provide a conspicuous sign in close proximity to the article that includes a statement disclosing the number of calories contained in the article.
(ii)

Voluntary provision of nutrition information; state regulation of nutrition information for vending machines

(I)

Vending machine operators

Nothing in this clause precludes a vending machine operator from providing additional nutrition information, voluntarily, if the information complies with the nutrition labeling requirements contained in this subparagraph.

(II)

State or local requirements

Nothing in this title precludes a State or political subdivision of a State from requiring that a vending machine operator provide nutrition information in addition to that required under this clause.

(iii)

Regulations

(I)

Proposed regulation

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this clause, the Secretary shall promulgate proposed regulations to carry out this clause.

(II)

Final regulations

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this clause, the Secretary shall promulgate final regulations to implement this clause.

(III)

Failure to promulgate final regulations by required date

If the Secretary does not promulgate final regulations under item (II) by the date that is 2 years after the date of enactment of this clause—

(aa)

the proposed regulations issued in accordance with item (I) shall become effective as the final regulations on the day after that date; and

(bb)

the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register notice of the final regulations.

.