'Food fight' on Capitol Hill over restaurant calorie counts

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPVI) -- Yesterday, we told you about some extremely unhealthy meals offered at some chain restaurants.

Federal rules say they will have to post calorie counts by December 1st.

But some are now fighting it.

The food industry squared off on Capitol Hill today against supporters of the new law.

They're pushing their own bill (HB 2017) to give them more time, and make supermarkets, convenience stores, and most takeout places exempt.

Some argue under the current rules, pizza parlor workers could face criminal charges if they put too many toppings on.

Those supporting HR 2017 worried that the law maintains that the ACA stipulations, as they stand, could lead to teen pizza makers being charged with a felony if they accidentally put too many toppings on a pizza, thus altering the calorie count outside of the posted totals.

"Under this there's sort of a presumption of guilt ahead of time," said Lynn Liddle, executive VP of communications for Domino's and chairperson of the American Pizza Community.

"I'm afraid that if a pizza was not cut exactly right it would be a felony," said Sonja Yates Hubbard, CEO of E-Z Mart Stores, Inc.

However, Dunkin' Brands, the parent of Dunkin' Donuts, said it has already implemented much of the rule, and thinks other organizations should follow suit.

"We believe FDA generally followed the intent of the law and did so in a manner to largely minimize cost and burden to the food service industry," said Karen Raskopf, chief communications officer for Dunkin' Brands.

"After having complied both with individual state laws as well as completing much of the work to meet the December 1, 2015 deadline, I can assure you, FDA has worked to address most of the significant and potentially costly issues that faced us."

The director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest said companies have had more than enough time to prepare themselves for the law.