Federal calorie labeling mandate, cont’d

by Walter Olson on April 2, 2010

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air checks out what it will mean for Davanni’s, a 21-outlet pizza chain in the Twin Cities. Earlier here, etc.

{ 16 comments }

1 Dave Haxton 04.02.10 at 7:49 am

Hot Air’s comment registration is closed, but something needs to be pointed out here: this particular piece of the Big Bad Bill was foisted on us not so much by liberal do-gooders (although the fat fear lobby helped) as by the National Restaurant Association: see here. Can you say “keeping the little guys in their place”?

2 Doug 04.02.10 at 8:47 am

So, why can’t they legally split up the company into different companies? Each one just under the limit? Did not some cab companies do that with their cabs for liability reasons?

3 markm 04.02.10 at 9:04 am

Or close the two least profitable locations.

4 Mark Biggar 04.02.10 at 10:41 am

Are franchises considered separate enough?

5 Mark Biggar 04.02.10 at 12:31 pm

The example of a pizza place is especially bad. Suppose they have 20 different toppings, that means they can make 20! or around 2,400,000,000,000,000,000 different pizzas. If they have to separately list the information for each of the possible pizzas, that’s a stack of paper bigger then the restaurant!

6 Sara B. 04.02.10 at 3:32 pm

And, Mark, that’s if they have only 1 type of crust! 8-/

7 Christ on a Cracker 04.02.10 at 7:51 pm

And now, add in “Extra Cheese”, “Extra pepperoni”, … , to the combinations.

8 kimsch 04.02.10 at 9:21 pm

And sizes, 10″, 12″, 14″, 16″, personal size… how many slices is a serving? Different numbers for different sizes?

9 Melvin H. 04.03.10 at 12:35 pm

As Sara pointed out, add in the different types of crust (i.e. regular, thick, thin, stuffed, double, flavored, etc.) and the number of possible combinations goes up even more; plus, how many slices are in each whole pizza?

10 gitarcarver 04.03.10 at 6:13 pm

What you would do is give the nutritional information for each item per size of pizza.

So a designated serving of a 14″ pizza would be the nutritional info on the crust, plus the nutritional info on the sauce, plus the nutritional info on each topping, etc.

Dominos does just that:
http://cache.dominos.com/homev8/docs/menu/dominos_nutrition_v2.30.00.pdf

That being said, the mechanics of complying is rather easy. Make a law demanding compliance is ridiculous.

11 Bill Alexander 04.03.10 at 8:43 pm

That assumes they will permit calorie count by ingredient. How can Congress expect people to be able to add?

12 Frank 04.05.10 at 10:05 am

“That being said, the mechanics of complying is rather easy. Make a law demanding compliance is ridiculous”

One normally doesn’t see these paired sentiments.

So, what we are saying that while it is good for people to be able to make informed choices about their diet and providing such information is easy to do, the government should not require it, since it is an easy to attain public health benefit.

13 Bill Alexander 04.05.10 at 11:03 am

Almost all the talk of public benefit ignores or tries to hide the public cost.

14 gitarcarver 04.05.10 at 12:04 pm

So, what we are saying that while it is good for people to be able to make informed choices about their diet and providing such information is easy to do, the government should not require it, since it is an easy to attain public health benefit.

Your statement makes several assumptions. First, it assumes that calorie information is available only at the restaurant. Secondly, you assume that because we can do something, we should. Third, you assume that this will have some benefit to “public health” despite the fact that for years we have been labeling food products and the level of obesity in the country has supposedly risen.

In other words, you have a law that may not benefit consumers, may not benefit “public health” (whatever that is) and will add unnecessary costs to restaurants and ultimately consumers.

15 Dave Eggers 04.05.10 at 6:10 pm

I just don’t buy that a pizza place has to list the calories for every permutation of pizza. I doubt Pizza Hut would be very happy with that. Aren’t custom orders exempt anyways? Unlike some laws that hurt only small businesses, what this guy described would hurt everyone. He pays $30,000, McDonalds pays $300,000,000. There’s no way they would let that happen.

16 Mark Biggar 04.06.10 at 10:52 am

If custom orders are exempt then a pizza place just gives info about their cheese pizzas and call everything else a custom order. “But regulator, the ‘Meat Lovers Deluxe’ is only a suggested example of a possible custom order, (wink, wink)”. So now what good is the regulation. Similarly a burger join only needs to list the bare hamburger and if you want cheese and bacon that’s a custom order and the fact there’s a bacon cheeseburger on the menu is only a suggested custom order. Hey that a whole new business, a service to rewrite menus to conform to this model.

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