Government Relations

The Government Relations Committee of the NAC Board of Directors identifies legislative and regulatory issues of interest to NAC members and those in the recreation and leisure-time food and beverage industry.


Committee Members:

Donald Lear, The Hershey Company (Chair)
Craig Chapin, Allure Global Solutions, Inc.
John Curry, Regal Entertainment Group
Denise de Zutter, AMC Theatres
Gina Di Santo, CCM, King Theatre Circuit, LLC
Jon Muscalo, Legends Hospitality
Robert Perkins III, Act V Theatres
Teke Sankey, Vistar
Rob Warnes, Showbiz Cinemas
Daniel Borschke, NAC
FDA Statement on Release of Menu Labeling Guidance

By Dr. Susan Mayne, Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a draft guidance document that will help companies to comply with the menu labeling final rule, which requires that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations. In July, FDA extended the compliance date an additional year, beyond the original December 2015 compliance date, to help facilitate efficient compliance across all covered establishments. The guidance document issued today is an important resource in our efforts to assist those in covered establishments to comply with the rule by December 1, 2016. Ultimately, consumers will be able to make more informed choices for themselves and their families.

We appreciate the extensive input we have received from stakeholders throughout the process of establishing requirements for menu labeling in certain restaurants and other retail food establishments. The guidance document responds to many of the most frequently asked questions that the agency has received to date in emails and during meetings with and presentations to representatives of the range of establishments covered by the new menu labeling rule. These interactions have been invaluable.

This guidance is intended to help establishments implement the rule and better understand the flexibility in the rule. The guidance also answers questions and helps explain how the final requirements work for different types of establishments. The guidance does not and cannot change the final requirements of the menu labeling rule.

The guidance is being issued as a “draft” and we welcome your comments. We will consider all comments before finalizing the guidance and will consider updates to the guidance as needed. We are committed to working collaboratively with establishments covered by the menu labeling final rule, including chain restaurants, covered grocery stores serving restaurant-type food, and others, now and in the future, to answer additional questions. In addition, we will be providing educational and technical assistance for covered establishments and for our state, local, and tribal regulatory partners to support consistent compliance nationwide.

We encourage covered establishments to consider the information in this draft guidance as they prepare to comply with the final rule by December 2016. We will work flexibly and cooperatively with individual companies making a good faith effort to comply. We believe that this cooperative approach helps to improve the dialogue surrounding the requirements and facilitates successful implementation in a practical way.

As a result of these efforts, consumers will have ready access to calorie information they currently may not have to help them make healthy decisions. That’s a worthy outcome of which we can all be proud.

For more information:
Draft Guidance for Industry: A Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments Selling Away-From-Home Foods – Part II (Menu Labeling Requirements in Accordance with 21 CFR 101.11)
Menu and Vending Machines Labeling Requirements
FDA Statement on Extension of Menu Labeling Compliance Date

GMO Bill Passes in Vermont

A GMO bill has passed the Vermont House and Senate that will require all packaged goods to be labeled; however, there are a few exemptions listed regarding processed foods. The bill takes effect on July 1, 2016. HERE IS A LINK TO THE BILL. Please note the exemptions beginning on page 11. It appears that any unpackaged foods sold at theatres should be exempt from labeling per items #7a and b, on page 13. Also, HERE IS A LINK TO A PUBLIC PRESENTATION put together by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office that does a good job in explaining the key points of the law.

New York Introduces Sugar Warning Bill

A Bill has been introduced in the New York State Assembly that would require sugar-sweetened food items and beverages to be labeled with a safety warning.

Here is text from Bill Number A08359 and a link to the entire Bill:

TITLE OF BILL: Sugar-sweetened food item and beverage safety warning act.

An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the labeling of sugar-sweetened food items and beverages with warnings

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Requires a safety warning label on certain sugar-sweetened food items, concentrates used to make sugar-sweetened food items, food item dispensing machines, and vending machines that dispense sugar-sweetened food items in order to increase public awareness regarding the health ailments associated with consumption of sugar-sweetened food items, especially obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

Candy Taxes Across the USA

NAC has obtained a schedule and map of how sales taxes on candy are applied state-by-state across the nation.

This information is courtesy of the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

The sales taxes are broken down by states who treat candy as groceries, states who treat candy differently than groceries and states with no sales tax on candy at all. The schedule also defines how the states treat soda.

Candy Tax Rates (PDF)

Candy Tax Map (PDF)


Illinois Beverage Tax Advocacy

The threat of a sugary beverage tax in Illinois and subsequently in the city of Chicago and Cook County is very real and continues to grow by the day. The legislature passed a budget that was underfunded by $4 billion and the Governor has thus far refused to discuss new revenue until elements of his “Turnaround Agenda” are passed. Cook County has listed a soda tax and bottled water tax as potential new revenue options. Here is a link to a “We are the Beverage Industry Video” which gives the other side of the story.

Click Here to See “We are the Beverage Industry” Video. Use password: iba


Presentation materials for NAC and NATO Present: The How-To-Guide for Compliance With the FDA Menu Labeling Regulations (CinemaCon 2015)

Click on name to download presentations:

Dr. Claudine Kavanaugh – U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Esther Baruh – Government Relations Manager – National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO)
Brad Derusseau – Chief Technology Officer – Cinema Scene Marketing (Video)
Rodrick Glass – Executive Vice President Business Development –Allure Global
Joel M. Neuman, VP & Sr. Managing Counsel National Foodservice, Coca-Cola



Current Issues of Interest:

This page lists current issues in the federal or state legislature, along with ways to impact legislation. Action alerts on important pending legislative issues are emailed to the NAC membership for their use. NAC members are encouraged to inform the NAC office of potential or pending legislation of interest to the foodservice industry.

-FDA Menu Labeling Regulations
-Regulation on Refrigerants and Insulation (SNAP)
-Sugary Beverage Bans
-Sugar Taxes
-Caffeinated Drinks
-Nutrition Labeling
-Credit Card Swipe Fees
-Front of Package
-Farm Bill
-ACA – Affordable Care Act

Sample Letters

Here are some sample letters, used by our members to send to their legislators. Member either used this letter or some of the contents to draft their own.

You can find the legislators that represent your area by clicking here.

June 1, 2012

There is currently a proposal in New York City to ban sugary beverages in containers larger than 16 oz. in restaurants, movie theatres, ball parks and food carts. In a coordinated effort, NAC is working alongside other industry associations in countering the messages being made by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYC Health Department.

NAC’s statement on the issue is below, as well as phone numbers and e-mail addresses for you to show your displeasure with such city action.

National Association of Concessionaires Statement on the proposed NYC ban on Sweetened Beverages

In the late 1800’s, Marshall Field coined the phrase that retailers and food service companies abide by to this day: “The Customer Is Always Right.” The National Association of Concessionaires (NAC), it’s members and the concession industry believes that choice is an important element of American commerce and the proposed policy in New York City banning sweetened beverages in larger than 16 oz. packages is arbitrary, capricious and ill-conceived.

The concession industry is an important part of the entertainment and recreation industry. Unfortunately individuals do not partake in movies, sporting events and other “special occasion” activities on a weekly or even monthly basis. These special occasions are family-oriented and are opportunities to celebrate, share and enjoy. Food and beverages are shared on these occasions and large packages of food and beverages are an economical means to that end.

Though Mayor Bloomberg’s intentions are admirable, consumers are already moving away from sugary drinks toward low calorie options, no calorie options and bottled water. Since 1998, the average calories per serving from beverages are down 23 percent while CDC data reports since 2000, that added sugars consumed from soda is down 39 percent.

The concession industry does acknowledge that there is an obesity problem in the United States and that is why choice is such an important element to our business. A variety of new low-calorie, low-fat, sugar-free items are available and will remain on concession stand shelves as long as the consumer continues to purchase them. Matter of fact, the consumer has the ultimate option of not purchasing anything, if they so desire.

Mayor Bloomberg stated on the June 1st Today show that “If the glass in front of you is smaller, you’ll drink less.” Unless the New York City ban also includes the elimination of the option of buying multiple orders of 16 oz. beverages or self-service, the NYC ban has unknowingly raised the price to satiate one’s thirst after a vigorous exercise regimen. We would encourage New York City to join the bandwagon promoting exercise and involvement in sports to burn calories rather than limit choice of beverage intake. All legitimate weight loss programs professed by the health and nutrition community include not just calorie intake but also exercise; and frankly that is what is missing in any municipal ban or regulation.

NAC is part of this coalition:

NAC encourages members and consumers alike to have their opinions heard:

Email Mayor Bloomberg:
Mayor’s Twitter:!/mikebloomberg
Mayor’s Facebook:
Email Health Department Commissioner Thomas Farley:
Call Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Farley: 212 639 9675

July 31,2014

NAC issued the following statement on Resolution #1096-2014 (a Local Law to establish healthy food standards at Suffolk County facilities).

(CHICAGO) July 31, 2014 -National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) though lauding the Suffolk County, New York Legislature on their well-intended approach to, “Adopt a leadership role in promoting good health and fighting obesity,” finds such an Orwellian mandate as Resolution #1096-2014 (a Local Law to establish healthy food standards at Suffolk County facilities) as, “Ill-conceived and destined for failure,” stated Daniel C. Borschke, FASAE, CAE, Executive Vice President of NAC.

The legislation, adopted on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 which exempts correctional facilities, a minor league baseball stadium, a museum and the community college mandates concessionaires shall offer four (4) daily fresh fruit or vegetable choices with a minimum of one daily leafy-green salad and one vinegar-based dressing; attempt to offer salads, sandwiches and entrees that have no more than 700 calories with 25% of offerings having 550 calories or less, containing no more than 800 mg of sodium and made of whole grains while also offering at least one steamed, baked or grilled vegetable option daily and half of all soup offerings shall contain no more than 480 mg of sodium per 8 oz. serving.

Though NAC does recognize the societal epidemic among children and adults in regards to obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes it would be more effective if municipalities would partner with those who relate and service customers on a daily basis on their food choices rather than mandating, “From the mount,” edicts which have proven in the past inequitable and poorly conceived as was the case in New York City and their soda cup effort.

“Choice and meeting customer needs and desires are the backbone of the US marketplace and it has been proven time and time again that industry will provide their customers what they demand. The landscape is splattered with failed enterprises that attempted to force their food and beverage desires on a less than responsive customer-base,” Borschke continues.

“NAC would welcome the opportunity to work with Suffolk County to tackle mutual dietary issues during their implementation and enforcement of the new law, cognizant of the fact that mandates can sometimes produce unanticipated results such as less interest in concession contracts, unemployed food service workers, food waste and budget deficits due to a lack of participation in county food offerings,” Borschke concluded.

We need members to reach out to their Representatives and Senators to ask them to reach out to EPA to request an extension of the comment period. This won’t take more than half an hour. If you email, even less!

Below and attached you will find the call script and email example for reaching out to your Representatives’ and Senators’ offices.

Remember—you are the people the offices want to hear from! Constituents like you have the power to elect—and not elect—these members.


Call Script

1. State You are a Constituent & Represent a Business in the District
2. State You are Calling to Speak About an EPA Regulation that will Significantly Impact your Business
3. Ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant that Handles Environment or Energy Issues
4. Ask that the Senator/Representative Ask EPA to Extend the Comment Period

Hello, I’m [your name] with [business name]. We employ [number of employees] in your district. I’m calling to ask for your boss’ help to make our voices heard and

1. ASK the EPA to provide a 45-day extension on the comment deadline so that we can provide information the agency requested and a more robust analysis of the effects on our business.

The EPA released a SNAP Proposed Rulemaking in August that proposed removing refrigerants that the vast majority of the marketplace currently uses in commercial refrigeration equipment with a compliance deadline of just 16 months.

Implementing this rulemaking raises significant questions about the impacts my business will encounter as a result including, increased product prices, decreased product variety and customization, higher insurance premiums, increased maintenance and training costs, and additional risks to employee and customer safety.

The deadline to submit comments must be extended an additional 45 days to provide the small businesses with adequate time to fully assess the impacts and provide thoughtful comments on the proposed rule. EPA recently extended the comment deadline by 14 days, but this does not allow time for the many industries that are just learning about this rule and that rely on the commercial refrigeration products SNAP regulates.

Will your boss support their constituents and help the small businesses that rely on commercial refrigeration products by requesting a 45-day comment deadline extension from the EPA?


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