Promoting, educating and advocating for Delaware’s restaurant industry since 1965.

Delaware Restaurant Association
Position Statement
Statewide Menu Labeling Legislation (SB81)

OPPOSE

As an industry, we support disclosing nutrition information at chain restaurants.  Our customers ask for it and we want to provide it.  In fact, many chain restaurants already provide this information to their customers through product packaging, posters, kiosks and other formats available at the point of sale.

The Delaware Restaurant opposes SB81, or a statewide menu labeling bill. As written, the bill would require small local restaurant groups (10 locations) such as Grotto Pizza, Brew Ha Ha and Capriotti’s  to incur costly changes to their menus and menu boards while leaving them vulnerable to litigation if staff does not adhere to strict recipes. The state would bear the financial costs of policing restaurants and testing menus.

While it seems politically popular by some, local menu labeling laws do not make sense. Â  They contribute to a growing patchwork of inconsistent regulations that confuse both restaurateurs and their customers.  We believe that nutrition disclosure laws are best handled at the federal level to insure a uniform, nationwide standard for chain restaurants that operate in multiple jurisdictions. We strongly support “The Lean Act,” Senator Tom Carper’s national nutritional disclosure bill that currently has support and is moving through Congress as part of healthcare reform legislation.  Menu labeling language has been included in both the recently passed House and Senate versions of legislation.

The federal legislation reflects a negotiated compromise between representatives from both sides of the debate.  The National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) worked hard to reach a compromise that, if passed, would require restaurant chains with 20 or more locations nationwide (regardless of ownership) to display total calories next to each item on a menu board or printed menu.  Additional nutrition information must be made available to customers upon request.  Grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters, vending machine operators and other chain foodservice providers would also be required to comply.  The federal legislation also allows appropriate time for drafting enforcement regulations and soliciting public/industry comment before all provisions of the legislation take full effect.

The Delaware Restaurant Association strongly supports this compromise because it will allow chain restaurants to provide nutrition information to customers while ensuring nationwide uniformity, liability protection and flexibility in how nutrition information is provided.  It also protects small businesses with fewer than 20 locations by allowing them to voluntarily comply with federal menu labeling rules which means that they cannot be forced to comply with inconsistent state and local regulations.

For your information, a summary of the federal menu labeling compromise is attached. Please click the following link:

Proposed Federal Menu Labeling Law