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New York City .. Crack down

January 24, 2008 | By More

New York City officials have decided to press fast-food chains into specifying on the menu the number of calories their foods contain in an effort to determine New Yorkers to eat healthier. New York City officials are planning to insist once more that fast-food chains provide their customers with a calorie count for each food right on the menu so that people know what they are eating and are better able to make healthy choices. The city Board of Health planned to vote Tuesday on regulations that would force major fast-food chains to inform customers exactly how many calories lace each food; fast food eateries make up 10 percent of the city’s restaurants.

The board passed a similar rule in 2007, which applied only to restaurants that had already volunteered to post nutritional information on their products. A federal judge dismissed the policy in September, arguing that the rule should include establishments which had not volunteered the information as well. Should the policy be approved this time around, any large fast-food chain that operates at least 15 separate establishments would have to display calorie contents on their menu boards, visible to customers before they order. Chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King, which have such data available for customers but not listed on menu boards, would have to change their style. Chains such as the International House of Pancakes and Hale & Hearty Soups would offer such information for the first time.

The new regulation would take effect March 31. Last year, New York City banned trans-fat cooking oils from all restaurants and city health officials hope reduce obesity with this policy by making people aware of (and perhaps scaring them with) the huge amount of calories some meals contain. “The more fast food people eat, the more likely they are to become obese,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden told the New York Daily News. “Some people may choose to ignore [the calorie information], and that’s totally fine. But other people will use it to choose healthier food.”

The benefits of such a regulation could be momentous, as officials hope that it prevents some 150,000 New Yorkers from becoming obese over the next five years and at least 30,000 cases of diabetes from developing. The New York Restaurant Association, which sued last year over the law, could not be contacted Monday according to media reports. From: eFluxMedia

Category: Food

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