Grocers Ask Members of Congress to Consider Common Sense Solutions for Communicating with Shoppers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 250 representatives of the nation’s food retailers and independent supermarket operators will rally on Capitol Hill this week at the supermarket industry’s annual meeting that affords grocers the opportunity to engage with their respective Members of Congress on priority business issues.
Food retail members from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the National Grocers Association (NGA), and the Food Industry Association Executives (FIAE) scheduled more than 300 appointments with lawmakers as part of the “Day in Washington” fly-in, advocating for legislation that brings needed common sense clarification to the application of chain restaurant labeling requirements for supermarkets; urging for consideration of a national labeling standard for GMO ingredients; and seeking governmental support to mitigate fraudulent transactions resulting in unprecedented chargebacks on chip cards.
FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said, “Our ‘Day in Washington’ is witnessing its highest attendance in recent years and the increased participation is testament to the mounting frustrations and challenges food retailers face as they strive to operate in a period of intense regulatory activity. We are asking Congress to put aside partisan politics and focus on workable, common sense solutions that allow grocery stores to do what they do best: serve the consumer by feeding families and enriching lives.
NGA President and CEO Peter J. Larkin said, “Grocery stores are a fundamental part of any community, creating jobs and investing in the local economy. With a growing number of legislative and regulatory issues that directly impact the supermarket industry, the annual Day in Washington meeting provides a great opportunity for grocery executives to establish relationships with their policymakers and advocate on the issues that matter most to them, their businesses, and employees.”
The nation’s grocery stores will collectively focus their energies at Day in Washington on the following three priority issues:
The supermarket industry supports enactment the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015 (H.R. 2017/S. 2217) to make the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s chain restaurant menu labeling regulations more workable in a grocery store setting. The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2017 in February with a 266-144 bipartisan vote and the industry will campaign for bipartisan momentum in the Senate.
The nation’s food retailers strongly support legislation that creates a uniform national standard for labeling products that contain or may contain GMO ingredients and that preempts differing state laws.
The Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Act was approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee on March 1 by a bipartisan vote of 14-6, but then failed on the Senate floor 48-49 on March 16.
EMV Transition to Chip-Enabled Cards
Grocers seek relief from the liability shift effective Oct. 2015, as well as assistance in dealing with the criminals that are targeting their stores. Food retailers are negatively impacted by unprecedented chargebacks on alleged fraudulent chip card transactions, often compounded by several large charges on one single card. Grocers need more information from the issuer and card-network-fraud-monitoring divisions allowing these transactions to occur. Grocers, like all merchants, do not have any ability to affect card rules and policies, so food retailers seek equal representation on the EMVCo voting board, the standard-setting body for EMV, so that their concerns are considered and addressed during the policy-making process.