Calories on the menu: Bipartisan bill wants counts in plain view
National legislation would supersede local standards
Calorie-count disclosures would be required on menus at chain restaurants under federal legislation that has the backing of the restaurant industry and nutrition labeling watchdogs.
. . . “The national policy would be quite strong — as strong or stronger than all the others” on a state and local level, said Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for the labeling advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“This legislation would replace varying state and local ordinances with a national standard that empowers consumers to make choices that are best for themselves and their families,” National Restaurant Association Chief Executive Dawn Sweeney said in written statement.
The calorie count mandate also would apply vending machines “owned by individuals operating 20 or more vending machines,” according to a news release from the legislation’s sponsors. It’s not clear if such a rule is supported by the vending machine industry.
Mike Donohue, a spokesman for the National Restaurant Association, said in an interview that “we’re optimistic this will be passed in the Senate as well as the House and become law,” although the sponsors say the measure would be part of the contentious legislation designed to reform the nation’s health-care system. Read Enitre Article
I am personally excited about this. One of the reasons obesity is such an issue is because people don’t realize what they are consuming and how many calories are in that Big Mac or Applebees platter. I admit, many people won’t care about the calories and won’t change their eating habits, but many may also choose to alter what and how they eat and drink (those Soda’s pack a bunch of calories).
A possible benefit may be the forcing of restaurants to serve healthier meals because people are eating less of the ones that aren’t healthy. Also, some of those “healthy” meals at McDonald’s and such will be eliminated. Why will someone eat a salad with as many calories as a cheese burger? Perhaps now people won’t be so deceived into healthy looking meals. Let’s also not forget that healthy eating habits = healthier bodies = lower individual health costs = lower societal health costs. For advocates of a universal health care this could be a good way to save cost.
I do worry this will encourage unhealthy calorie counting – especially for teenagers -, but I am willing to take that risk if it means that we are a healthier nation. This action is, of course, not a silver bullet, but I think it is a good first step and will help Americas take greater care of their bodies.