The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved legislation that would give restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores and others more flexibility in the way they label calories on the food items they serve.

The bill, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, would enable restaurants to post calorie counts online or on smartphone apps in cases where customers typically don’t step foot inside a door.

The rules also include some lawsuit protections and give companies more time to comply with the legislation. It gives some flexibility for posting the calories of customized options.  

“We must ensure America’s job creators have the flexibility they need to grow their businesses, hire more employees and serve their customers,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the bill’s author, said in a statement.

The bill amends a 2010 law that required restaurants and other eateries to post calorie counts on menus. The Food and Drug Administration published its rules in 2014, but the law has yet to take hold due to multiple extensions.

An earlier version of the House bill had included a provision that would have exempted supermarkets and convenience stores from the law. That provision was stripped from the final legislation.

A National Restaurant Association spokeswoman said that the group ceased its opposition to the bill once that provision was stripped. The group continues to back national menu labeling requirements so restaurant chains can follow a single standard for posting calorie counts on menus, rather than several different state standards.

The House bill had some Democratic support, according to The Hill. The Obama administration opposes the bill, but “stopped short of a veto threat.”

Contact Jonathan Maze at jonathan.maze@penton.com.
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