House panel clears bill to roll back menu labeling regs

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Legislation aiming to loosen regulations requiring restaurants and grocery stores to list the number of calories in each prepared food item they sell cleared a key House panel Wednesday.

The bipartisan Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) in April, was approved by a voice vote in the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on healt, sending the bill to the full committee for further consideration.

A companion bill is also being pushed in the Senate by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Angus King (I-Maine).

The menu labeling requirements, required under ObamaCare, have come under fire from industry groups and a hot of lawmakers. Pizza joints are particularly concerned that the endless possibilities of toppings could make it nearly impossible to comply with.

“This regulation tries a cookie cutter approach, treating grocers, convenience stores, and pizzerias with endless combination possibilities the same way as restaurants with constant, simple menu items,” Rodgers said. “Requiring pizza franchises to post in their store every potential topping combination, more than 34 million possible outcomes, when more than 90 percent of their orders take place over the phone or the Internet, just doesn’t make sense.”

Some estimates put the compliance costs for industry at more than $1 billion.

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