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Tracy Kosbau
Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations

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May 14, 2013

Banning Local Bans
Let Individual Citizens Decide What They Want to Eat

MADISON – On May 9 at the state Capitol, the Joint Committee on Finance voted to include in the state budget bill a provision that prevents local governments from telling you what you can or can’t eat what you go out to a restaurant.

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association applauds the Joint Committee on Finance for including this provision in the state budget bill and would like to especially thank Rep. Pat Strachota for these efforts in limiting intrusive regulation of what Americans can eat and drink.

If it becomes law, the budget motion that passed May 9 will prevent local governments from regulating nutritional content or portion sizes of foods and non-alcoholic beverages sold in retail establishments. That authority would be reserved to the state and federal governments, which already have numerous regulatory agencies to regulate foods, including the FDA, USDA, Wisconsin DHS and Wisconsin DATCP.

“Regulations by municipalities are problematic for the restaurant industry as it creates an un-level playing field where some establishments would have to follow strict regulations and others would not depending upon where they are located,” said Ed Lump, President and CEO at the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. “If regulation is necessary, it should be done on a statewide or federal level.”

In 2009, when Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, they included a provision requiring calorie counts to be provided on menus and menu boards at restaurant chains with more than 20 stores.

“There is no evidence to show that regulating what people eat and drink will lead to improved health outcomes,” said Lump. Another factor to keep in mind is that the majority of meals eaten by Americans are prepared at home. “The way to help people become healthier is educating them how to eat healthy instead of trying to force them into what some believe are the right choices,” said Lump.

Members of the National Association of Theatre Owners of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan, the Wisconsin Grocers Association, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association and the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association supported the motion.

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Since 1933, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association has been dedicated to the promotion, protection and improvement of the foodservice industry.

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Wisconsin Restaurant Association • 2801 Fish Hatchery Rd. • Madison, WI 53713 • Tel: 608.270.9950 • Toll Free: 800.589.3211 • FAX: 608.270.9960