Obamacare’s Food Police: The Provision No One is Talking About

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By now, most people are aware of the insurance-based pain Obamacare is inflicting on Americans.  The marketplace website is a failure of such ridiculous proportion that it is almost comical.  The “Affordable” Care Act is proving to be anything but affordable, with many would-be consumers experiencing sticker shock over the sky-high premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.  To add insult to injury, a lot of us won’t be able to “keep our plan” or “keep our doctor” as we were promised – no less than 29 times by Obama himself.

But there is a provision of Obamacare that has either been forgotten or neglected by the media amid the flurry of coverage.

That provision includes laws for menu and vending machine labeling requirements.

Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to disclose the caloric content of menu items to their customers.

Naturally, this is the FDA’s project, and finalized plans for the implementation of the regulations are in the works.

Here are the basic requirements, per the FDA website:

The following information must be provided for standard menu items that are sold in chain retail food establishments:

  • The number of calories in each standard menu item on a menu or menu board (the calorie disclosure must be “clearly associated with” and “adjacent to” the name of the standard menu item),
  • A statement on the menu or menu board that puts the calorie information in the context of a recommended total daily caloric intake,
  • Additional nutrition information for standard menu items in written form (“written nutrition information”), which must be made available to consumers upon request,
  • A “prominent, clear, and conspicuous” statement on the menu or menu board regarding the availability of the written nutrition information, and
  • The number of calories (per item or per serving) adjacent to self-service food and food on display. These foods include food sold at salad bars, buffet lines, cafeteria lines or similar self-service facilities and self-service beverages and food on display that is visible to consumers.

For vending machines, the following rules apply:

For food sold from a vending machine by a chain vending machine operator, where the purchaser cannot examine the Nutrition Facts Panel of the food before buying, or where the nutrition information is not otherwise visible at the point of purchase, the operator must put a sign close to each article of food or selection button disclosing the amount of calories in a clear and conspicuous manner.

If this reminds you of Nanny Bloomberg’s similar laws in New York, there’s a reason: Obama appointed Thomas Frieden head of the Centers for Disease Control.  Frieden was commissioner of the NYC Health Department.  As Bloomberg’s health czar, he pushed for anti-smoking and anti-trans fat laws, and set the tone for anti-soda regulations.

Walter Olson, the senior fellow at the Center for Constitutional Studies at the libertarian CATO Institute, said there are more problems:

“The other thing the Obama administration is doing is funneling massive grants, millions and millions of dollars to localities that are willing to do things like propagandize against salt and fat and for outright lobbying to get people to stir up these local initiatives to have the town ban happy meals or have the town ban the locations of a fast food restaurant through zoning,”

The Obama administration seems to believe that we, as consumers, are too inept to make our own decisions about what we eat.  The assumption is that Americans need the Food Police to “protect” us from making poor nutritional decisions.

Here, John Stossel explores the issue:

Research shows that providing caloric information on menus does not have a good track record as a deterrent from over-consumption:

The Obamacare menu-labeling law is modeled after a provision that has been in place in New York City since 2008. New York University and Yale researchers collected receipts before and after the New York City law went into effect and found that individuals ordered more calories after the labeling law went into effect. They also ordered more calories than a similar population in Newark, where there was no labeling law.

Proponents of menu-label mandates often respond to such studies by trying to identify why the results did not match desired expectations. One argument that has been used is that consumers also need calorie recommendations in order to make healthy choices. However, a just-released study published in the American Journal of Public Health regarding the New York labeling law found that providing calorie recommendation benchmarks—such as calories per day or calories per meal—did not reduce calories purchased, nor did it appear to help participants to better use the calorie information posted on menus. In fact, we found some evidence that recommendations may even have promoted purchase of higher-calorie items.

The cost of the provision is staggering:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is overseeing the implementation of this provision, estimates that it will cost restaurants, grocery and convenience store chains as much as $537 million to comply the regulations. The high-end cost to restaurants alone is $457 million. The estimates that annual recurring compliance costs will run as high as $64 million.

Here we have another expensive program associated with Obamacare.  The costs to businesses will be astronomically high, and the regulations may not even have an impact on the rising obesity rates in America.

So, what is the point? Control.

Control healthcare, control the people.

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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”

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