The latest addition to your favorite restaurant’s menu is not some delectable delight but new regulations, set to take effect May 7, that can cost you money. Born during the Obama administration and implemented by current FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the new rules require restaurants with 20 or more locations to post in-store menu boards providing exhaustive nutritional information on virtually every item sold.
If consumer advocates are cheering, consider that Domino’s Pizza, for example, has over 5,500 stores in the United States alone and offers consumers 34 million different combinations of pizza. How can it possibly provide soup-to-nuts nutritional information on all of them? If it doesn’t, however — or if a given pie has somewhat more sauce or cheese — it could conceivably be sued. This is great for trial lawyers. It’s not so great for customers who’ll shoulder the costs of legal compliance or who may be denied choice if restaurants have to simplify their menus.
And the penalties can be steep. As Jim Gerety, owner of 18 Domino’s stores in Texas, writes today at Washington Examiner, “Gottlieb’s rule exposes my employees and me to civil and criminal penalties of up to one year in prison and/or a $100,000 fine for inadvertent violations.” It’s a bit like 1984 meets The Joy of Cooking.
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