JOINT BOARD OF HEALTH AND
LANE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' MEETING

April 15, 2009
1:30 p.m.
Harris Hall Main Floor
APPROVED 5-4-2011

Commissioner Pete Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy and Faye Stewart present.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

Assistant County Counsel Trina Laidlaw described the process on the joint hearings.

Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, explained that this presentation is to respond to questions the Board had the first time they were in front of the Board.  He hoped this would be advantageous.

Jennifer Jordan, Health and Human Services, gave a presentation on food labeling.  (Copy in file).

1.  PUBLIC HEARINGS

a.  SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/ORDER 09-4-1-2/In the Matter of Consideration of the Adoption of a Policy and Rules Requiring the Nutrition Labeling of Food Items at Chain Restaurants (NBA & PM 3/31/09 & 4/1/09).

Edward Gerdes, Vice President, Cafť Yumm, said he had sent a memo to the Board.   He  was disappointed because they thought they were going to be part of the process.  He recalled at the December 10 hearing they directed the Department of Health to start a dialogue with various interest groups, including the industry locally and regionally.  He contacted the Department of Health and expressed his desire to be part of the discussion and part of the drafting of the ordinance and that didnít happen.  He stated the first time he saw a copy of this was last week.  He asked the Board not to do anything today and send it back to the health department and get industry input.  He stated that he had problems with the way it is drafted today.  He didnít think it was fair that delis and grocery stores were exempt under this ordinance.  He added that all government run facilities are exempted.  He stated that condiments were exempted from having to have calorie counts.  He stated it was a burden for them to figure out how people order their food.  He indicated they are setting up a website that will allow people to go to the website and put in what exactly what they want and the amounts they want and it will pull up a calorie count.  He thought that was a better solution for people who were concerned about calories counts.  He wanted a uniform rule put out by the state, not different counties.  He indicated the new menus will be paid for by the franchisee, not the franchisor

Jeffrey Vogel, Eugene, said he is a Wendyís franchisee.  He said he is looking at this as an unintended consequence.  He thought personal responsibility is important.  He thought this is passing the buck to the government.  He thought this was going to be used as a scare tactic.  He thought this was having people making choices for other people and he didnít think it was right.

Jim Goes, Cottage Grove, stated he chairs the South Lane School Board..  He said they are working hard to get kids early and educate them about making intelligent choices.   He thought the proposed ordinance would be helpful.  He commented that this was about providing information.  He stated that this was about the cost of providing the information versus the benefit of providing the information.  He said the information will enable people to make more intelligent choices about the foods they buy. 

Bill Perry, Oregon Restaurant Association, indicated that chains provide this information.  He said they are trying to push this at the state and national level.  He thought having it at the national level would be preferred by everyone.  He stated there is a cost to the franchisee on the local level and there has been no information proven anywhere that this does anything.  He asked if this was the time to do this when people are being laid off in restaurants due to the recession.

Dr. Jimmy Unger, Eugene, stated that as a pediatrician he has 2100 kids in his practice in Eugene .  He said over 800 of his patients are obese or overweight.  He indicated that he spends a lot of time talking and listening to his patients about obesity.  He said it is frustrating for these kids to make healthy choices.  He added that they want more information before ordering in restaurants.  He said many think they canít find health food at chain restaurants. He stated that families have the right to information in a format that could be used and this ordinance does that.   He asked the Board to listen to families and endorse this policy.

Julia Martin, Eugene, stated she is a mother of an overweight teen.  She said she educates her child on how to eat, but there are times she is not with her.  She thought it would be better if her child could look up to a message board to make a choice based on information on what calories are in the menu items. She stated if the Board doesnít act today, then they wonít be able to pass strong menu labeling.

Deb Johnson Shelton, said she is a researcher.  She indicated that she has been working with the community on childhood obesity prevention.  She commented that going out to eat is a special time in familiesí lives.  She said parents need information and want to make the best choices they can.  She stated that the point of purchase is the moment to be able to make a quick decision. She said there is a profound need for this educational experience and for people to enjoy time with their kids and to see this information to show public awareness.  She thought Lane Countyís initiative could be an example for the state.

Dana Baxter, Eugene , commented that she has educated children about making healthy food choices. She said in most restaurants there is no information about the food.  She said the proposed menu policy would provide the basic information Lane County residents need to make educated decisions about the food that they eat.  She encouraged the Board to consider supporting policy regarding menu labeling.

Karen Roth, Eugene , stated when she buys fast food she wants to know how many calories she is putting into her body.

Ann Marie Hersh, Eugene, said she is a concerned school nurse in the Bethel School District .  She noted that a wellness policy is implemented in all school districts but she was concerned about overweight and obese children.  She indicated that she was noticing more students with Type 2 Diabetes.  She stated that students want help with food and exercise.  She noted that information about calories is on the web but they need to see it in front of them.  She thought all restaurants should have menu labeling and fast food restaurants would be a good start.  She stated that the problem must be embraced by the whole community.  She wants the restaurants to join them with the trend to stamp out obesity.

Marion Diermayer, stated she has four children.  She thought menu labeling makes sense and thanked the Board for considering the proposal.  She commented that people have the right to know what they are eating.  She said that 90 percent of people guess wrong.  She encouraged the Board to supply people with calorie numbers for decision making.

Sarah Hampson, Eugene, said she supports menu labeling for Lane County.  She said she is a senior scientist.  She indicated that she works on ways to find to help for individuals with obesity related health issues and diseases.  She commented that they have seen a shift to greater obesity in Lane County and the entire population of the United States . She thought this will create a healthier environment where people can make choices.

David Richey, Eugene, stated that he is a father of a person with Type I Diabetes.  He was in favor of menu labeling so his family can make more important decisions.

Randy Jeffries, Springfield , said that he works for Taco Bell as a controller.  He was concerned because this was being proposed on a countywide basis and it could lead to inconsistencies with other counties across the state.  He added that it will add confusion and costs to their business.  He said they already have brochures in all of their stores that have calorie and sodium information.  He favored something on a state level.

Dr. Sarah Hendrickson, Eugene, thought this ordinance would help people with information to make choices.

Laurie Treiger, Eugene , Executive Director of Lane County Healthy Active Youth, said the opportunity is now to take action in the local community.  She noted that restaurants routinely change out menus several times a year.  She asked for menu standardization.

Wendy Simmons, Eugene , believed a strong majority of people would favor menu labeling.  She said it would help people decide what actions to take and foods to order for health improvement.  She indicated that Americans are eating out more and are eating larger portions.  She supported a policy supporting chain restaurants to post calories on a menu board.

Jason Mason Gere, Eugene Chamber of Commerce, said they are seeing businesses closing.  He said they want to see businesses currently operating to stay in business and make it easier to survive during these difficult times.  He said their membership thought this ordinance would make it more impossible for people to survive with businesses. He said they have objections to placing restrictions in Lane County .  He added that the state was doing the same thing and he urged the Board to hold off.

Laura Hammond, Eugene , stated that most Oregonians support menu labeling.  She said they have the right to know what they are buying.  She stated that menu labeling helps and gives the right to know.

Alejandro Queral, American Heart Association, said he is working on legislation, HB2726 that would implement this policy at the state level.  He thought there was an advantage at the local level, as it would make the policy stronger.  He added this would send a message to the legislators that it is something that Oregonians want. He said the Board could make policy consistent with Multnomah County .   He said the cost is in the design and determination of the nutritional values and they are already available in data bases.

Pam Stuver, Eugene, commented that when people know what they are eating, they choose healthy things and they tend to read labels.  She indicated that consumers underestimate calories and nutrition influences choice.

Randy Prince, Eugene , stated that he taught nutrition classes in high school.  He said that menu labeling will appeal to everyone. He said it will encourage students to study better.  He thought it was okay for Eugene to be a leader.

Steve Cornacchia, Springfield , commented that parents take their children to fast food restaurants and that child doesnít have a choice, but the parent should have the information necessary to make a good choice. He hoped the Board considered doing this. 

Assistant County Counsel Trina Laidlaw, noted when the Board is considering the Board of Health business first, that she had submitted a file note asking to add more whereas clauses into the policy order.  She stated they explain the procedural  history.

Fleenor commented that there is no doubt the country has an obesity crisis.  He said they need to do something but there are many levels.  He thought they needed to be careful as they move forward because they donít want to create a process that is not fair and equitable.  He thinks they are moving forward too quick without looking at some of the unintended consequences of their actions today.  He was fully supportive of menu labeling, but starting with the federal, state and then to the local level. He noted that currently they have legislation pending in Salem that could have a statewide standard that takes care of the fairness.  He heard there was no public discussion with the industry on this.  He thought they should go back and work together as a partnership so they have a collective desire to move this forward.  He recommended scheduling a Third Reading and to direct staff to work with the industry and tweak some of the language so they  have something that is more comprehensive.

Handy wanted to follow up with the cafeteria on what they can do for menu labeling.   He thought it was the consumer right to know.

Stewart thought this should pertain to all prepared food in Lane County , and not single out any specific restaurant fast food chains.  He was concerned in these economic times to add an additional burden.  He wanted to see a longer implementation time.  He asked if they could use economic development money or grants to assist in this effort.  He didnít want to make a stand with this.  He said if the state moves forward with doing something and preempts their ability to do anything else, then they have wasted their time. He wanted to look into other options and being more inclusive as an organization.  He wanted to work with the restaurants.  He wanted to know what they could do together to improve the health of their community.

Sorenson thought that today was the day to take a view because obesity is an epidemic.  He thinks they should take action.  He asked public health staff to meet with the restaurants over the next two weeks and to submit their questions to staff via e-mail and to set this over for another reading on the policy order for two weeks so they can get the answers to the questions.

MOTION: to approve a Second Reading and Setting a Third Reading and Deliberation to May 6, 2009 during the Board of Health Meeting.

Fleenor MOVED, Handy SECONDED..

Rockstroh thought they should work with the association.  He thought the issue still had to do with preemption. He thought they could always adopt the state version.  He thought they could look at an incentive program or economic development.

Stewart asked that they wait for the state.  He didnít want to go out and test everyoneís calorie count to make sure they are displaying the proper calories. 

Dwyer said if he were to make a motion it would be to postpone this indefinitely.  He stated that this was not the appropriate thing for government.  He was a no.

VOTE: 4-1 (Dwyer dissenting).

b.  SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance No. 1-09/In the Matter of Codifying the Order and Rules of Board of Health on Chain Restaurant Nutrition Labeling by Amending Chapter 9 of Lane Code to Include Those Rules (LC 9.711 - 9.730) (NBA & PM 3/31/09 & 4/1/09).

Fleenor indicated that this item will be rolled to be heard on the same day.

MOTION:  to approve a Second Reading and setting a Third Reading and Deliberation for Ordinance No. 1-09 on May 6, 2009.

Fleenor MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

VOTE: 4-1 (Dwyer dissenting).


There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 3:45 p.m.


Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary