NACS welcomes the reintroduction of legislation on menu labeling regulations

WASHINGTON, D.C., 2017-Feb-03 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) today (2/2/2017) applauded the reintroduction of legislation to protect small businesses and their workers from the unreasonable burdens and potential criminal penalties of the Food and Drug Administration’s final menu labeling regulations.

The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, reintroduced by Representatives Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA 5) and Tony Cardenas (D-CA 29) in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 772) and Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Angus King (I-ME) in the U.S. Senate (S. 261), provides a more practical and flexible approach to regulations finalized in 2014 by the FDA. The FDA is due to begin enforcing the current regulations on May 5, 2017.

“We need some common-sense relief to the FDA’s menu labeling requirements so that it is reasonable and achievable for local convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and others that sell food.  Small businesses are already having to spend money trying to comply with difficult and unworkable regulations.  I am pleased to introduce this bill that recognizes the importance of menu labeling, but more importantly recognizes that there needs to be flexibility for businesses so they can provide important nutritional information to customers in the most useful way,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO).

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05) also weighed in: “Whether you buy food at the local convenience store or eat out at the neighborhood diner, you should have access to important nutritional information. The FDA’s one-size-fits-all approach places additional burdens on the backs of our nation’s small business owners without giving them the flexibility they need to comply with the regulations. How businesses provide that information should be consistent with how their customers actually place orders—including by phone, online or through mobile apps. By bringing this rule into the 21st Century, we can provide relief to our job creators and preserve important nutritional information for American families at the same time.”

NACS has called for rapid action by Congress and the new administration as the May 5 compliance deadline nears. Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president of government relations, stated, “It is critical that Congress and the new administration act quickly before the May 5 compliance deadline to provide for common-sense, simpler menu-labeling regulations that would ensure more nutritional information and choice for consumers—without exposing small businesses to burdensome costs and penalties and their employees to potential felony prosecution for accidentally putting too many pickles in a sandwich.”

The current FDA menu-labeling regulations create rigid requirements that do not take into account the differences in approach to foodservice between big-chain restaurants and convenience stores, grocery stores and delivery operations.  In particular, the FDA regulations added unfair costs and compliance barriers to establishments with offerings that do not appear on a centralized “menu” board and establishments that may have multiple coffee, frozen drink and food islands as opposed to the central ordering point in a traditional fast food restaurant.  The regulations also place a store or restaurant at risk for criminal penalties if it gives some customers larger servings than they expected based on the calorie information provided.

The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, which passed the House last year by a strong bipartisan vote of 266–144, maintains but modifies FDA’s menu-labeling regulations so businesses may provide nutritional information to customers in a more practical format. The legislation protects small businesses from overly burdensome costs and penalties, while also removing the possibility of criminal penalties.

Convenience store foodservice sales have risen to $42 billion a year—now accounting for nearly 19% of total in-store revenues—as busy customers look for fast and healthier options to go.

Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

Source: NACS

NACS issues statement on the House Financial Services Committee vote to report the Financial Choice Act

Alexandria, VA, 2016-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations at NACS, today (9/13/2016) issued the following statement on the House Financial Services Committee vote to report H.R. 5983, the Financial Choice Act:

“NACS is deeply disappointed at the House Financial Services Committee’s vote to report the controversial and misnamed ‘Financial Choice Act’—which includes repeal of the highly effective, pro-competition and pro-consumer debit swipe fee reform—but given the bipartisan opposition that arose even as the bill was rammed through Committee, repeal efforts should not move forward.

“While the bill’s sponsors inserted the acronym CHOICE in the bill title—standing for ‘Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs’—the Act as currently constituted would instead generate more costs and lost opportunity for entrepreneurs, higher prices for consumers and greater monopoly profits for the credit-card giants by eliminating competition in the debit-card arena.

“Along with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who have already stood against this ill-considered measure, NACS will continue to fight to keep the interests of merchants and consumers ahead of the credit-card Goliaths, who already benefit from the highest swipe fees in the world.

“Specifically, we’ll keep doing everything in our power to build on the strong opposition to this bill and ensure that members of Congress and the Senate recognize the success of this vital reform in re-establishing competition in the debit-card market.  Repeal of swipe fee reform would put Visa and MasterCard right back into the price-fixing business by making it impossible for smaller card networks to compete, and would dramatically increase costs for convenience store owners, for whom swipe fees are already, on average, their fastest-growing expense.  And it would quickly wipe out the nearly $6 billion in savings consumers have experienced each year thanks to the reform.

“In the end, it is clear that the bill in its current form lacks the support necessary to get through Congress, given its potential harm to competition, consumers and small business.”

Swipe fee reform, enacted in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform package, required centrally price-fixed swipe fees on debit transactions to be “reasonable and proportional” to the cost of processing the transaction and ensured competition among debit networks. Repeal would allow unlimited price-fixing of fees and let the credit card giants block their competitors from having a chance to try to get business from merchants.

According to a report by the Merchants Payments Coalition, reductions in debit fees driven by swipe fee reform put nearly $6 billion in consumers’ hands through lower prices in the first year of reform alone and supported more than 37,000 new jobs annually.  In addition, small merchants have benefited from greater transparency in debit-card transactions.

Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

Contact:

(703) 684-3600 (phone)
(703) 836-4564 (fax)

Source: NACS

NACS releases statement regarding Hensarling’s intention to mark up the Financial Choice Act

Alexandria, VA, 2016-Sep-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), today (9/9/2016) released the following statement regarding House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s announced intention to mark up the Financial Choice Act, which includes a provision to repeal debit swipe fee reform:

“NACS is deeply disappointed that Rep. Hensarling will try to repeal debit swipe fee reform.  Repeal would allow the credit card Goliaths to resume price-fixing of debit-card fees and block smaller card networks from competing with them for business.

“Even with reform, the dominance of the Visa-MasterCard duopoly means retailers and consumers in the United States pay the highest swipe fees in the world—up to seven or eight times European levels.  Without the vital protections of debit reform and the small measure of competition it has introduced to the market, consumers would face higher prices and smaller merchants would face even greater burdens—especially convenience store owners.  Higher swipe fees, which on average are the fastest-growing expense and second-largest operating cost for retailers, cost American consumers tens of billions of dollars every year.

“We strongly urge Congress to put the interests of merchants and consumers ahead of the credit card giants by voting against the Financial Choice Act.”

Six years ago, debit reform passed (with bipartisan support in the Senate) as an amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform package. The reform stated that centrally price-fixed swipe fees on debit transactions had to be “reasonable and proportional” to the cost of processing the transaction. Importantly, the reform ensured that competition among debit networks continued.

Debit swipe fee reform has helped both merchants and consumers alike. Merchants have seen transparency for the first time when a customer swipes a debit card. And according to an economic report released by the Merchants Payments Coalition, cutting debit fees put $5.8 billion in consumers’ hands through lower prices and created 37,500 new jobs annually.

Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

Contact:

(703) 684-3600 (phone)
(703) 836-4564 (fax)

Source: NACS

NACS applauded the House Energy and Commerce for passing bipartisan menu-labeling legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C., 2015-11-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) today applauded the House Energy and Commerce for passing bipartisan menu-labeling legislation that would enable compliance for convenience store operators while increasing the availability of both nutrition information and choice for consumers.

The committee approved H.R. 2017, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015, introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) by a vote of 32 to 12.

“We thank committee members and their leadership for advancing legislation that truly meets the objectives of the menu-labeling law without burdening convenience store owners and adding to costs to their operations,” said Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president of government relations. “We look forward to expedited approval of this vital and common-sense legislation by the full House and the Senate.”

Convenience store foodservice sales have risen to $42 billion in sales, or 19% of total in-store revenues, as these retail outlets continue to meet their customers’ demands for rapidly available and healthier food options on the go.

More information from NACS can be found at nacsonline.com.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 152,700 stores across the country, posted $696.1 billion in total sales in 2014, of which $482.6 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

SOURCE: NACS

NACS welcomes legislation for national, uniform nutrition-disclosure standard for foodservice establishments introduced in U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON, 2015-10-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) hailed legislation introduced today in the U.S. Senate, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (S. 2217), as a thoughtful approach to providing the necessary flexibility and understanding of convenience store foodservice operations.

A provision included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, calls for a national, uniform nutrition-disclosure standard for foodservice establishments. Regulations implementing this provision, finalized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2014, create rigid requirements that pose an unreasonable burden on convenience stores. The FDA’s rules, set to take effect on December 1, 2016, do not recognize how convenience stores, grocery stores, delivery operations and other approaches to foodservice are different than restaurants. Further, the intent of law was designed for big chain restaurants with simple, standardized menus at all locations and Congress’s intent was to ensure those menus provide clear, understandable nutrition information.

The bipartisan legislation introduced today by U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Angus King (I-ME) codifies a less burdensome approach to menu labeling. For those convenience stores that would be covered by federal menu-labeling requirements, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act provides more flexibility with compliance. The legislation also removes the potential for criminal penalties if a store or restaurant gives some customers larger servings than they expected. The Senate bill maintains but modifies FDA’s menu-labeling regulations to provide nutritional information to customers in a more practical format, and to protect small businesses from overly burdensome costs and penalties.

“Convenience stores and their foodservice offerings vary greatly—even those that are part of the same chain—based largely on their location and customer base. S. 2217 provides retailers with the flexibility they need to communicate calorie nutrition information, and provides needed protections from unnecessary potential felony penalties on retail employees,” said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations at NACS. “This legislation would also allow FDA to meet the objectives of the menu-labeling law without unnecessarily burdening retailers and confusing customers.”

NACS has been actively engaged with the FDA during the regulatory process, ensuring that the agency understands the convenience store industry’s unique perspective on federal nutrition disclosure obligations.

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The National Association of Convenience Stores expressed disapproval of the sweeping new menu labeling regulations imposed by the FDA on small businesses

​ALEXANDRIA, VA,  2014-11-26 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) expressed disapproval of the sweeping new menu labeling regulations imposed on convenience stores and other food establishments including grocery stores, movie theaters, and vending machines by the Food and Drug Administration earlier today.

“The FDA has clearly gone beyond congressional intent by expanding the types of businesses that fall under this law to include convenience stores,” said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president for government relations for NACS. “The one-size-fits-all approach that FDA announced today would treat convenience stores as though they are restaurants, when in fact they operate very differently. It is now up to the bipartisan, bicameral opponents of this regulatory overreach to enact legislation introduced in both houses of Congress that reasonably defines a restaurant as a business that derives at least 50% of revenue from prepared food.”

The Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010, requires a national, uniform nutrition-disclosure standard for foodservice establishments. The broad rules announced today seek to establish this standard.

NACS has long advocated to the FDA that any menu labeling regulations must account for differences between the convenience store business model and a chain restaurant business model. The new rules announced today don’t recognize how convenience stores, grocery stores, delivery operations and other approaches to foodservice are different than restaurants. Further, the intent of law was designed for big chain restaurants with simple, standardized menus at all locations and Congress’s intent was to ensure those menus provide clear, understandable nutrition information.

NACS currently supports H.R. 1249, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, that was introduced by Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), and S. 1756 that was introduced by Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Angus King (I-ME), both of which are currently pending in Congress. The legislation would codify a less burdensome approach to menu labeling by limiting the provision in the health-care law to establishments that derive 50% or more of their revenue from food that is intended for immediate consumption or prepared and processed on-site.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.