Obamacare rules apply to food choices, too

Section 4205 of Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, established complex national regulations and standards for menu-labeling for restaurants, franchises and some grocery stores operating 20 or more locations. Obamacare is filled with all sorts of other controls on the foods that can be sold, served in school lunches and advertised. It’s all to address a nonexistent crisis — except to those who consider it a national crisis that our food has never been safer or more plentiful and we’re living longer, healthier lives than ever in the history of our country.

Like virtually every federal regulation brought to us under Obamacare, science and evidence are lacking. In fact, the government’s own documents even admit there’s no support for food labeling. But, they’re doing it anyway.

Menu Labeling: Another Job-Killing Regulation in ObamaCare

Problems in society are rarely solved by Washington bureaucrats yet they seem to have taken the adage, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ to heart. Accordingly, the government is addressing the nation’s growing obesity epidemic with a regulation: Section 4205, the menu labeling provision attached to ObamaCare meant to “aid consumers in selecting more healthful diets.” As currently written, however, the regulation will likely have job-killing effects and result in little, if any, significant reductions in obesity rates and/or improved health…

For the pizza community, estimates for the cost of signage reach up to $4,700 per year depending on how often products are updated. Despite being part of a big brand name like Domino’s Pizza, the cost will be incurred by the franchise owners, which Liddle says are mom and pop operations. The nearly $5,000 is an added expense against marginal profits, she says, which doesn’t include the uncertainties associated with future costs of food, minimum wage increases and the possibility of more regulations…

And what about the research showing menu labeling helps reduce obesity rates and increase overall health? FMI’s Erik Lieberman writes: “It has been estimated by industry that the costs of extending menu labeling to supermarkets will exceed $1 billion in the first year of compliance alone, and hundreds of million of dollars annually thereafter. Meanwhile, the evidence that menu labeling has any significant impact on public health is scant. Indeed, of the studies FDA cites in the rule, most demonstrate that menu labeling has little to no effect on purchasing habits. Furthermore, no study shows any link to reduction of obesity rates, the purported benefit which FDA used to justify the menu labeling regulation.”

Published in the Federal Register, Unified Agenda 0910-AG57, the U.S. Government said that it anticipates that these food businesses will bear the costs for adding nutritional information to menus and menu boards. The total governmental costs of this rulemaking will be approximately $80 million, with annualized estimates of $33 to $125 million over ten years. “These costs include an initial cost of approximately $320 million with an annually recurring cost of $45 million.”

These rules will knowingly increase the costs of food — especially food the government doesn’t want people to buy — and will cost jobs. So what evidence is the federal government using to justify it new regulations? The Federal Register says:

Because comprehensive national data for the effects of menu labeling do not exist, FDA has not quantified the benefits associated with section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act and this rulemaking.

However, the effects of menu labeling have been tested at local and state levels. New York City became the first state to impose food menu labeling to address obesity in July of 2008 and its regulations were used in health reform legislation. Research conducted by professors at four New York universities, and  published in Health  Affairs, was the first to evaluate the effectiveness of this policy since its introduction. It found that while people noticed and one-quarter of them said the labels influenced their shopping choices, in actuality, there was no change in calories purchased before and after labeling went into effect. In fact, the average number of calories purchased in restaurants went up 21 calories.

12 responses to “Obamacare rules apply to food choices, too

  1. Shocked face on.

  2. I’ve been under the impression that FDA had something to do with the U.S. food being genrally more bland than in some other countries. Not bad in any way — just not particularly exciting. I don’t mean reastaurants; just the stuff you grab off the shelf at grocery stores. I totally rejoyce every time I go back to the U.K. and grab some junk food at the local co-op and such. I don’t know what else to blame; it can’t be the nation’s taste, I don’t think. It must be the difference in what is and is not allowed in the food, and how much.

  3. Food labeling is just another way for BigAg and BigFood to poison us with the full blessings of BigGov, which in turn, allows BigPharma to push out more drugs which only mask, and not cure, our life style diseases.


  4. I always wonder about those who thing BigAg is out to poison us and BigPharma out to sell us drugs that don’t work. The best thing I could tell them is check out SSI you may indeed be mentally handicapped. Do you really thing food is poison??? Do you really believe the couple million doctors and scientists an nurses whose education and professional experience makes then uniquely able to assess the efficacy of the medicine BigPharma sells would just stand by and let it happen? Could you be that dumb and not be qualified for SSI for a mental defect?

  5. Control, control, control and dictate, for your own sake, because obviously people cannot be trusted, or even allowed to think for themselves. Marxist America is on the march. They have taxed the air we breathe, the water we drink, and now dictate what foods we can eat.
    The American and British Constitutions, state quite clearly the Government cannot interfere with the lawful activities of its people, unless we harm or injure anyone, cause them loss or damage to their property, act dishonestly in our dealings, cause a breach of the peace, or act in mischief.
    We can eat what ever we want, grow whatever we wants, providing our activities do not interfere with anyone els, we can do it. That’s the Law and its about time the British and US Governments were forced to uphold our lawful rights, or slither back under their rocks.

  6. This is not about public health. It is about pathological micromanagement by self-deluded tyrants who sincerely believe that only they know what is best for everybody, and who find it inconceivable than anyone would NOT want these ‘Progressives’ running every detail of their lives.

  7. I sort of like the theory that the big (name your industry) is out to poison you and only big government can save you. It removes all personal responsibility. You know, those foods are chock full of chemicals and you have no choice but to consume those chemicals.
    That must be the reason I weighed ~350 lbs a couple years ago. It had nothing to do with genetics and my diet and exercise choices.
    The research shows that the labels are nothing but background noise for a majority of folks. If they want the high fat, high calorie food, they are going to eat it without considering the label. Nice of the government to waste our money.

  8. New regs!
    No eggs, no vegs.
    No milk, no elk
    No beets, no sweets, no tasty treats!
    No ‘maters, no’taters, no aid for ‘gators.
    No sea food, no free food.
    No meat, no wheat.
    So what in the world are we s’posed to eat?

  9. Over here in the EUSSR there is talk about increasing premiums for people who live ‘unhealthy’
    Even if one could determine what that means, one wonders in which category extreme sports falls…

    • Westchester Bill

      You don’t have to go to extreme sports. I remember well the leg/knee problems of my long distant running colleagues. Tennis elbow anybody?

  10. A Dutch study from 2008 showed health care costs are higher for healthy people because they live longer. We should be encouraging people to get fat and smoke to reduce health care costs. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/health/05iht-obese.1.9748884.html?_r=0,

  11. John M. Chenosky, PE

    The only solution is to do what the ecotards did and flood the courts with lawsuits.

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