Progressive Grocer Independent

APR 2016

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April 2016 | Defining the Independent Market | 35 than 200 food industry companies and sent to state legislators, these broad regulations afect on average 100 to 250 items in a typical supermarket, including fresh produce, bakery, dairy and seafood. While the current iteration of the menu- labeling rules apply only to those operations with 20 or more stores, smaller chains also need to be aware: frst, in case they are growing and are close to hitting that magical number of 20 locations, and second, if a competing store is sup- plying nutritional information, it cre- ates consumer expectation. Customers who regularly shop a store that belongs to a chain that has to abide by the menu-labeling requirement will expect to have that same information available to them when they shop a single-store operation, Strange points out. Commonsense Adjustments Te U.S. House of Representatives re- cently passed the Common Sense Nu- trition Disclosure Act of 2015, which clarifes the FDA's fnal rule regarding menu labeling. Tese regulatory fxes provide supermarkets some fexibility when ofering local and unique food options while still giving consumers clear nutritional information. Te act includes exemptions for local or fresh items that may be sold at only a few lo- cations, as well as providing fexibility in regard to the placement and display of nutritional information where cus- tomers make purchasing decisions. Te Common Sense bill also clari- fes that an advertisement isn't a menu, includes some liability protection and allows a reasonable amount of time for businesses to comply. What it doesn't do is exempt supermarkets, but it does allow some practicality for providing nutritional information based on how the food is prepared and sold. Currently, the FDA's menu-labeling ruling efec- tively requires the nutrition information be displayed next to the product. How- ever, supermarkets can have the same item displayed in several locations, and retailers often advertise products on a chalkboard in the front of the store to draw customers to the product. Te Common Sense bill would allow supermarkets to display the nutritional infor- mation not at every location, but in the one primary spot where the customer is most likely to be making the purchasing decision. Retailers are also permitted to use a menu board in a prepared food area or next to a salad bar, instead of individ- ually labeling each item in the display cases or salad bar. Te Common Sense bill would additionally protect the stores if an employee made a mistake during food preparation and accidently put in too much of a certain ingredient, which would efectively change the nutritional information. It would allow supermarkets 90 days to take corrective action before federal, state or municipal enforcement kicks in, thereby ofering some liability protection. "If our workers make a mistake and add an extra cup of mayonnaise to the chicken salad, it protects against that inadvertent human error," says Greg Ferrara, SVP government relations and public afairs for NGA. Commonsense Movement Te bill, which passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, now moves on to the Sen- ate, where NGA is actively trying to garner support for it. "[Te Common Sense bill] is important," Ferrara as- serts. "It does a lot of things that we "We just want to make sure that for single-store operators or five- store operators, there's a level playing field for them to be able to meet expectations and serve their consumers really well." —Laura Strange, NGA

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