Good piece in the Washington Post on whether the Food and Drug Administration is going to insist upon calorie listing and reporting for alcoholic beverages. As the Post article details, the federal Tax and Trade Bureau has been sitting for nearly three years on a proposal to require beer brands to disclose basic nutritional information, including the number of calories per standard serving.
Now the Food and Drug Administration might get in on the act. The Obama health care bill, signed into law in March, will require restaurant chains with more than 20 branches (more than 200,000 eateries nationwide) to disclose on their menus the calorie counts of each item. The FDA has been given a year from enactment to draw up guidelines for enforcing the new law. But the language in the health bill doesn’t address alcoholic beverages. So it’s an open question as to whether the FDA will insist on calorie reporting for beer, wine and cocktails??
One possible loophole, in any event: the law exempts from its nutritional disclosure requirements “items appearing on the menu for less than 60 days per calendar year.” By rotating beer selections frequently, restaurants could dodge the disclosure rule, that is, if it existed to begin with.