A Further Perspective

News Quiz #2

Degree of difficulty: Not too bad, but pay attention.

By 5.10.10

A number of the contestants in News Quiz #1 (here) complained that it was insultingly easy. News Quiz #2 attempts to address that concern.

Contestants are invited to pick the bogus provision or provisions out of the following paragraphs which have been lifted (with some of the excess verbiage excised) from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), more colloquially known as ObamaCare. The provisions have been separated into discrete numbered paragraphs for ease of reading and identifying.

Time allotted: two hours. This is not an open-book, Internet-research test, but you may discuss with other contestants.

1  In the case of food that is a standard menu item that is offered for sale in a restaurant or similar retail food establishment that is part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name and offering for sale substantially the same menu items, the restaurant or similar retail food establishment shall disclose in a clear and conspicuous manner, in a nutrient content disclosure statement adjacent to the name of the standard menu item, so as to be clearly associated with the standard menu item, on the menu listing the item for sale,

2  • the number of calories contained in the standard menu item, as usually prepared and offered for sale;

3  • and a succinct statement concerning suggested daily caloric intake, as specified by the Secretary by regulation and posted prominently on the menu and designed to enable the public to understand, in the context of a total daily diet, the significance of the caloric information that is provided on the menu;

4  For the purposes of this clause, a restaurant or similar retail food establishment shall have a reasonable basis for its nutrient content disclosures, including nutrient databases, cookbooks, laboratory analyses, and other reasonable means.

5  The Secretary shall establish by regulation standards for determining and disclosing the nutrient content for standard menu items that come in different flavors, varieties, or combinations, but which are listed as a single menu item, such as soft drinks, ice cream, pizza, doughnuts, or children's combination meals, through means determined by the Secretary, including ranges, averages, or other methods.

6  This regulation shall not apply to items that are not listed on a menu such as condiments and other items placed on the table or counter for general use, or daily specials, temporary menu items appearing on the menu for less than 60 days per calendar year, or custom orders.

7  This regulation shall not apply to items that are not served in the restaurants or similar retail food establishments that are the subject of this regulation, except as the Secretary may by subsequent regulation determine. 

8  This regulation shall not apply to any religious organization that provides any kind of nutrient substance as part of its religious observances, whether described in any written or spoken material of said organization as any kind of food or meal or otherwise.

9  In promulgating regulations, the Secretary shall consider

10  • standardization of recipes and methods of preparation,

11 • including but not limited to those listed in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Childs, The Joy of Cooking, The Single Quaker Mother's Cookbook, and Low Calorie Cooking the Islamofascist Way,

12  • reasonable variation in serving size and formulation of menu items,

13  • space on menus,

14  • inadvertent human error,

15  • training of food service workers,

16  • variations in ingredients,

17  • sunspots,

18  • and other factors, as the Secretary determines.

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About the Author

Daniel Oliver is a Senior Director of White House Writers Group in Washington, D.C. He served as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Ronald Reagan.