A national standard for disclosure of nutrition information in restaurants is on its way.
Federal lawmakers agreed to support a uniform national standard for nutrition information provided at restaurants June 10.
“We look forward to working with Congress to enact this legislation, which provides caloric information on the menu and additional information, such as sodium and carbohydrates, in other accessible formats,” a statement from the Washington, D.C.-based National Restaurant Association read.
The purpose of the legislation is to provide consistency in nutritional information provided across the country.
Currently, cities and regions have differing laws on nutrition information. New York City requires calorie information on menus, while Seattle, for example, requires calories, sodium, saturated fat and carbohydrates to be listed.
“Currently, there is a growing patchwork of inconsistent state and local laws governing menu labeling in restaurants that can be confusing for our customers and operators, Craig Prusher, vice president of government relations for Burger King Corp., said in a news release.
Miami-based Burger King Corp. was among the quick-service operators to publicly support the initiative.
The legislation was originally introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) and Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah). The agreement was made by Carper, Murkowski and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
The standard is based on two bills, the Labeling Education and Nutrition, or LEAN Act, and the Menu Education and Labeling, or MEAL Act. The legislation will still have to pass in the House and the Senate but has bipartisan support as well as industry support.
The Coalition for Responsible Nutrition Information was established in late 2008 to support the federal legislation.
Darden Restaurants, the Orlando, Fla.-based owner and operator of more than 1,700 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 restaurants, also released a statement of its support for the agreement.
“We are pleased that industry, government and the public healthy community were able to come together and partner to reach a workable solution to this important issue,” the statement read.
Darden was a member of the executive committee for the Coalition for Responsible Nutrition Information.
“This agreement will provide a uniform national standard of nutritional information, no matter where the restaurant is located across the country, giving consumers consistent information to empower them to make choices that are right for them and their families,” according to Burger King’s statement.