Online Program

Regulation of fast food restaurant marketing and retail practices

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 1:11 p.m. - 1:23 p.m.

Jennifer L. Pomeranz, JD, MPH, Yale University, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, New Haven, CT
Introduction Research indicates that fast food consumption is independently associated with poor nutrition and increased risk for obesity. The most frequent fast food purchases include French fries, processed meat, and soda, which are also associated with weight gain. Children who attend schools within half a mile of a fast food restaurant have been found to consume more soda and fewer vegetables and are more likely to be overweight or obese.

Approach Cities have attempted to address this fast food environment by enacting innovative solutions including banning trans fats, enacting ordinances proscribing the sale of food accompanied by a toy unless the meal meets certain nutritional standards, and restricting the serving size of sugary beverage permitted for sale.

Results These innovative solutions have led to positive outcomes but also have provoked backlash by state legislatures that have passed preemptive laws blocking the ability of their local jurisdictions to pass similar measures.

Discussion This presentation will explain legally viable options to address fast food restaurants' marketing and retail practices by state and local governments, including the use of taxation strategies, zoning ordinances, retail signage requirements and the legality of regulating other retail practices, such as serving size. It will address strategies to overcome legal barriers to such solutions and provide an update on the federal menu label law.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify legal opportunities to regulate fast food restaurant retail and marketing practices. Differentiate between legally viable solutions at the federal, state and local levels. Evaluate the problem with state preemption of public health measures related to fast food.

Keyword(s): Food and Nutrition, Law

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of Legal Initatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale and have published and presented on food policy and the law since 2007. I hold a JD and MPH.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.