Calorie Counts Coming to a Restaurant Near You

By White House FOXBusiness

FDA's calorie count rules: How it could impact your wallet

FBN's Lori Rothman on the cost of the FDA's new rules that require calorie counts to be printed on menus at restaurants.

The White House recently released its biannual regulatory agenda, giving the public a first glimpse at forthcoming regulations for 2015.

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The Obama Administration’s Unified Agenda lists over 3,000 rules that various federal agencies will prioritize and enact.

Among the many regulatory actions set for the upcoming year, consumers will most likely notice changes to menu labeling at various food establishments. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s menu labeling rule is creating a nationwide standard that will require chain restaurants and grocery stores of 20 or more facilities to provide calorie counts to customers listed on food items as well as alcohol. Entertainment venues such as movie theaters and amusement parks will also have to provide calorie information.

While Americans may not want to be informed of their caloric intake just as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg says the timing is a coincidence. 

“These rules have been in development for quite a long time and it is a coincidence that it's happening right before Thanksgiving, a holiday where we all enjoy eating and would just assume not to be thinking about the calorie content of everything we’re consuming,” Hamburg said during a media conference call. “It was a question of when the rules were ready to go forward.”

With the unveiling of the Agenda in late November, experts point out that it leaves little room for the public to weigh in and affect the rules before the government finalizes them. The late publication of the regulations has been questioned or even criticized by some.  

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Analysis released by The George Washington University found “a troubling pattern of lack of agency notice that could inhibit public participation.” The American Action Forum, a conservative think tank also says that pending regulations involve more than $100 billion in economic costs and include nearly two dozen economically significant regulations - or rules that have a cost of at least $100 million.

Among one of the largest pending regulations that the Obama Administration is on track to finalize is to update carbon emission standards for new and existing power plants. One business group, the National Association of Manufacturers, estimates that stricter ozone standards will cost $270 billion a year.  

Additional regulations on the agenda include new implementations or updates to fracking on public land, power plant carbon emissions and flammability standards for upholstered furniture, among many others.

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