Foodservice Equipment Reports

Ohio Bans Municipalities From Regulating Restaurants

The Ohio legislature has barred cities and towns in the state from regulating what restaurants serve or how they serve it.

The state’s budget, signed into law June 30, includes a provision drafted and promoted by the Ohio Restaurant Association that gives the director of the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture the sole power to regulate restaurants. It prohibits local political subdivisions from enacting ordinances over how restaurateurs can run their operations, including oversight of what ingredients to use in the food they sell, how menu items are described, and how restaurants advertise their business to the public. The budget also included an amendment that reversed a law limiting sugary, calorie-laden beverages in schools.

Cleveland was the first city in Ohio to try to legislate healthier restaurant food; it passed a local ordinance earlier this year banning restaurants from serving trans fats. That ordinance, scheduled to take effect in 2013, is now in the hands of the state Agriculture Dept. director.

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