Groups want third-party apps. to display nutrition info

Written by James Shea

A group of advocacy groups is pushing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require third-party delivery platforms to post nutritional information on online menus.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, the American Heart Association, the American Public Health Association, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumer Federation of America and Consumer Reports wrote a letter on April 1 to Susan T. Mayne, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA. In the letter, the group is seeking guidance from the FDA on the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic provision of the Affordable Care Act. In the act, restaurant chains with 20 or more locations are required to have menu labeling with calorie and nutritional information. The goal is to give consumers more information when making food choices.

The group believes that is unclear whether the federal agency requires third-party delivery platforms to list the nutritional information on online menus and is seeking an opinion.

“The role that (third party delivery companies) play in American food consumption cannot be overstated,” the letter states. “As of 2019, over 60 percent of young adults used (third party delivery). Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 80 percent of non-pizza orders were done through a (third party delivery company). However, people who order their food through a (third party delivery company) may not have point-of-sale access to the same nutrition information as those who order food from a restaurant menu.”

The letter uses the example of Chipotle. When customers order through Chipotle’s website, they can view online menus that access calorie information for each menu item “which allows consumers to make detailed, informed choices.”  The same information is not available when customers order Chipotle through a third-party platform, and the letter expresses concerns about the public’s health when not given the information.

“Calorie labeling on restaurant menus appears to modestly reduce calories purchased,” according to the letter. “This is important because the average daily calories consumed by people in the United States has significantly increased since the 1970s, which may be a contributor to increased rates of obesity and related chronic diseases over the same period.”

The letter lays out an argument about why the nutritional information should be available on third-party platforms and asks the government agency to look into the matter.

 

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