What Calorie-Labeling Regulation Means for Your Business

Menu with Calorie Count

In the Obamacare package, there is a regulation for calorie labeling for foods sold in fast food chains. The labeling regulation seemed insignificant at first, however, it has the potential to turn many small businesses upside down.

The problem with this the regulation is that it is vague and extends to “similar retail food establishments,” meaning the FDA could have the power to force small businesses to label their products with calorie information as well. Although the law was originally made for large fast food chains, small independent businesses are going to take the hit with this one.

Calorie labeling…it’s straightforward right? Wrong, and the even bigger issue comes when people customize orders—do businesses have to provide calorie information for every possible combination? FDA Commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, admitted that she “actually thought [calorie labeling] would be one of the more straightforward tasks, but little did I know how complicated it would be.”

The calorie-labeling regulation is not one of the more expensive government regulations being issued this year. But for small businesses it could be the difference between making or breaking their business. And non-traditional food retailers don’t think you are in the clear, because you may be subject to this change as well.

This regulation is such a mess. Things may have made more sense if calorie labeling was effective in lowering the obesity rate, but many studies have found that this is not so. A study in Philadelphia, PA, which has enacted their own calorie labeling mandate, found this had no effect on the customer. Many of the customers stated they didn’t even notice the calories posted. Jason Stverak, President of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity states, “Had the ACA done their homework, they would have realized the mandated calorie labeling is an ineffective method of fighting obesity.”

How does this affect YOUR business?