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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) are joining in an effort to prevent the City of New York Health Department from enforcing new nutritional labeling regulations.

The new NYC regulations - scheduled to go into effect in late August, would require any foodservice business with 15 or more locations nationwide to disclose calorie counts and other nutrition information, as well as post a statement about daily recommended calorie consumption.

A lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York argues that the city is attempting to circumvent federal regulations that would prevent just such local regulations, and that are scheduled to go into effect next year. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules would apply only to chains with 20 or more restaurants in the same brand, and will require only that they make the nutritional information "accessible."

"The federal law preempts a municipality from taking matters into its own hands, and this is exactly what New York City is attempting to do,” said Jennifer Hatcher, FMI chief public policy officer in a statement. “New York City’s actions threaten interstate commerce and would introduce unneeded elements of confusion into the food retail marketplace.”

“New York City can’t jump the gun and start imposing fines when FDA hasn’t even figured out how disclosures should be made," said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations for NACS. “Doing that holds stores to standards that no one can meet and undermines the point of having a federal law in the first place.”
KC's View:
One of the things we're going to be talking about this week in the class that I team-teach at Portland State University is the role of government regulation, and where and how the lines should be drawn. I'll be very interested to see where the students come down on this one ... I tend to think New York City ought to have the right to have more stringent regulations, but it also isn't one of those issues that I'd make central to how I vote. I do always find it kind of funny when people who would defend the notion of states' rights in some circumstances find the concept less acceptable in others.