INTRODUCTION OF THE ``LABELING EDUCATION AND NUTRITION ACT OF 2008'' -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 28, 2008)
* Mr. MATHESON. Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce the ``Labeling Education and Nutrition Act of 2008'' which I believe is a first step towards providing consumers with the nutritional information they seek while hopefully providing restaurants with a workable framework for delivering that information. This legislation is a starting point for a bipartisan effort to address nutritional labeling. Senator Carper introduced the same legislation earlier this week in the Senate. With the introduction of the LEAN Act, I believe we have an opportunity to have a constructive national conversation about this important issue.
* As we see in our own lives and daily eating habits, consumers increasingly choose to eat in restaurants. In my home State of Utah, restaurant jobs represent about 7.9 percent of the employment in my State. American adults buy a meal or a snack from a restaurant 5.8 times per week on average, and spend 48 percent of their food budget on food away from home, almost $1,078 per person annually. Unfortunately, we have also seen the toll diseases such as obesity and diabetes have taken on society. By providing nutritional information, individuals with special dietary needs will be able to make the right nutritional decisions for them regarding caloric intake or sodium levels.
* I appreciate the interest and leadership some of my colleagues have demonstrated on this issue in the past. I believe my legislation represents a compromise effort that will allow consumers to make informed decisions while also providing for greater individual responsibility in dietary choices, Finally, I hope my colleagues will work with me on this piece of legislation and I look forward to building upon this legislation next year.