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FDA calorie labeling requirements spark controversy

The proposed law would require supermarkets to post nutritional information about food prepared in-store

Obamacare has caused a lot of controversy, and the uproar isn’t limited to the healthcare arena. The supermarket industry is up in arms about a proposed section of the 2010 act that could require stores to label many food items prepared in-store, such as bakery items, salad bar offerings and deli products.

Under the proposed law, restaurants and “similar food establishments” with 20 or more locations would be required to post calorie counts for many items that aren’t prepackaged and labeled. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suggested in draft regulations that “similar food establishments” include supermarkets that devote more than half of their floor space to selling food items.

Those stores, however, contend that only a small percentage of their sales come from deli stations, bakeries and the like, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some industry experts also note that the cost of complying with the proposed FDA regulations—which would require supermarkets to provide the agency with detailed nutritional information about each ingredient that goes into their prepared foods—could increase prices for consumers.

FDA officials still haven’t issued final regulations, and agency commissioner Margaret Hamburg recently told the Associated Press that “[the agency has] worked very hard to sort of figure out what really makes sense and also what is implementable.”

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