Search OCA:
Get Local!

Find Local News, Events & Green Businesses on OCA's State Pages:

OCA News Sections

Organic Consumers Association

The Other NRA: National Restaurant Association Eviscerates Rights of Customers, Workers, and Children

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Fair Trade & Social Justice page.

Food movement leaders tend to stick to their specific issues, whether it's advocating for healthy food, fighting for workers' rights or curbing marketing to children. For each of these issues, there are numerous food corporations that need to change. But there is one organization that conveniently provides us with one giant target for all of them: the National Restaurant Association.

The "other NRA" employs 750 staffers and spent nearly $4 million on lobbying and campaign donations in 2012 alone. The trade group representing some 52,000 members was named a "Heavy Hitter" by the Center for Responsive Politics for being a top corporate player in Washington, D.C. No wonder, with board members that include the nation's largest chains such as McDonald's, Wendy's, Starbucks, and Darden (the restaurant conglomerate that owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster), among others.

NRA Hates Public Health

The National Restaurant Association has had a negative impact on a wide range of issues that foodies tend to care about. Do you think chain restaurants should provide basic nutrition information to their customers? Is it really too much to ask to disclose the calorie count for dishes like the "Five Cheese Ziti" or the "Steak Gorgonzola-Alfredo" at Olive Garden? The NRA thinks so, as the group lobbied against menu labeling laws for decades, until they "gave in" by stripping states of their right to enact such laws. The NRA hated New York City's menu labeling rules so much that the group filed a lawsuit to stop implementation. They lost.

But that didn't stop NRA lawyers from filing another lawsuit against New York City when lobbyists didn't get their way again, this time to oppose limiting the size of sugary soft drinks. (That case is still pending.) Science and plain common sense tells us that consuming sodas out of bucket-size containers is probably not good for you. Yet the NRA and its members demand their right to keep selling these disease-inducing beverages by waging an aggressive astroturf and media campaign in cahoots with the soda industry to manipulate public opinion.

Other public health policies the NRA has vigorously opposed include soda taxes, trans fat bans and lowering sodium levels, which are sky-high in chain restaurants. But there are a few policies the NRA is actually in favor of, such as expanding the use of food stamps for fast food. They also led the charge for "cheeseburger bills", which aim to shut the courtroom door to customers harmed by unhealthy fare.      


>>> Read the Full Article

For more information on this topic or related issues you can search the thousands of archived articles on the OCA website using keywords: