Movie Theaters Looking For Menu Labeling Loophole

Had it been offered as a freestanding bill, Rep Rosa DeLauro’s measure to implement a nationwide calorie menu labeling requirement would have been a very important and very significant issue all on its own. Instead, it got little attention as a component of the Affordable Care Act. But it has the potential to really help consumers meet their goals. Of course it also has the potential to make little difference to people’s behavior. But when I read Jeff Young on movie theaters’ desperate search for a loophole that would exempt them from the rule, I draw the conclusion that the people who know the industry best think it really will make a difference:

Movie theaters and grocery stores are lobbying the Food and Drug Administration to avoid the proposed regulation. Theater chains led by Tennessee-based Regal Entertainment Group generate as much as one- third of their annual revenue from concessions. Congress didn’t mention theaters in the law and the idea of regulating them never came up at legislative hearings, said Patrick Corcoran, a spokesman for the National Association of Theatre Owners, a trade group. […] Movie theater chains were supposed to be targeted by the mandate, said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who sponsored a food-labeling bill in the House that was incorporated into the health-care law. The requirement “is meant to let people know what it is that they’re consuming,” she said.

Chain restaurant operators can somewhat legitimately complain that applying this rule to all and only restaurants with at least 20 branches is a bit unfair to them. Movie theater owners are grasping at straws here for an argument.