There have been quite a few new laws that have been passed (or close to it) that will make an impact in some way on the foodservice industry. Here is a recap of some of the recent events and what those in the industry can expect. Please feel free to share your thoughts on these new laws or share others not listed here with other readers.
Small Business Jobs Act of 2010
The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 was signed by President Obama on September 27. The Indiana Restaurant Associated (IRA) highlighted this in their October newsletter and pointed out its beneficial tax and lending provisions for the foodservice industry.
The IRA pointed out these specific points:
“Increase in the Section 179 expensing limits to allow businesses to write off $500,000 instead of $250,000 in 2010 and 2011. Establishment of a $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund to spur and facilitate small banks in lending money to small businesses. Increase in the size of Small Business Administration (SBA) loans from $2 million to $5 million and eliminate fees associated with such loans through 2010. It also continues 90 percent government guarantee of such SBA loans through 2010.”
The Food Safety Modernization Act
The Food Safety and Modernization Act passed through both the House and the Senate and is on its way to the president. In a recent CNN article, they said this bill “allows for greater governmental regulation on the U.S. food system.”
This bill comes after several food recalls over the country. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can currently negotiate with companies, individual producers have the final say to issue a recall. This bill will allow the FDA to issue direct recalls on possibly tainted foods. However, this bill has many opposers who find it to have too much control.
Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
One of Michelle Obama’s main goals as first lady is to fight childhood obesity and have better nutrition in schools. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act was signed by the president on December 13. This bill allows funding for federal school meals and child nutrition programs. It will also create a larger variety of healthier foods for children of low-income families.
In a summary of the bill on the White House’s website, it said the bill will improve nutrition and focus on reducing childhood obesity, increase access for students to be exposed to healthier options and will also increase program monitoring and integrity. For a timeline on when these healthier options will start hitting schools, the summary says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will work with states, school districts and neighborhoods to put the parts of the bill into place—and over time, changes will begin to show. To read more about this bill, including the summary, visit the White House website.