NAC criticizes Suffolk County food standard legislation
The 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,” calls its Resolution #1096-2014, a local law to establish healthy food standards at County facilities, “Ill-conceived and destined for failure,” in the words of Dan Borschke, executive VP of NAC.
The legislation, adopted on July 29, which exempts correctional facilities, a minor league baseball stadium, a museum and the community college, mandates concessionaires shall offer four 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 ensuring that half of all soup offerings contain no more than 480 mg of sodium per 8-oz. serving.
Though NAC recognizes the societal epidemic among children and adults in regards to obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, the Association suggested it would be more effective if municipalities partner with those who service customers on a daily basis regarding their food choices rather than mandate “From the mount” edicts which have proven in the past inequitable and poorly conceived, as was the case with New York City’s soda cup effort.
“Choice and meeting customer needs and desires are the backbone of the U.S. 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 contended.
“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.
Founded in 1944, NAC represents the operators and food, beverage and service suppliers in the recreation and entertainment concession industry. As a 501 C6 not-for-profit trade association, NAC provides advocacy, education and research for its worldwide membership.