Dining out in New York City just got a lot simpler with the passage of a law requiring fast food chains to display calorie counts on menu boards, Reuters reports.
Under the new regulation, which is slated to take effect March 31, restaurants that operate at least 15 separate outlets will be required to post nutrition information “in close proximity” to items on menus and menu boards in font sizes comparable to those used for the items’ names or prices.
City officials had previously proposed legislation that would have applied only to chain restaurants, but it was rejected by a U.S. district judge on the grounds that it violated existing federal food labeling laws.
Commenting on the new regulation, Center for Science in the Public Interest nutrition policy director Margo Wootan noted that “it’s going to get a lot easier to make informed choices at New York City’s chain restaurants,” adding that group expects that “many more cities, counties and states will require menu labeling once they see how easy it is for these chains to list calories on menus.”
A spokesperson for the New York Restaurant Association, meanwhile, says the group has yet to decide whether it will challenge the mandate.
Although we are all for full nutritional disclosure we aren’t so sure this is going to do much in the way of the intended effect. Listing calories doesn’t tell you anything about what those calories are comprised of. Additionally, it is a bit difficult to imagine people canceling their orders of fries when (if!) they see the calorie count. People, and maybe this a bit too optimistic, must know by now that eating super sized fries isn’t good for you. It’s not simply a matter of education. It’s also about perceived value, and the fact that many people just don’t care.
What do you think? About time? A step in the right direction? Or a waste of time?