23 Jul

Menu labeling laws coming

Kelly Brownell of Rudd Sound Bites has an excellent editorial linked to a blog entry about The Importance of Menu Labeling. As Dr. Brownell writes:

Several states are considering legislation to require calorie labeling on restaurant menus. This follows on the heels of action by the New York City Department of Health to take trans fats out of all restaurants and to require calorie labeling in restaurants that have the information already available (the chains for the most part – about 10% of all restaurants).

The interesting thing in this conversation is the fact that the restaurant industry vehemently opposes requiring nutritional information available on their menus. Among the supposed reasons? That doing so “takes away a customer’s rights” to choose their own meal. In other words, by listing how many calories/fat grams on the menu, this is “forcing” someone not to eat certain dishes. How anyone can see this as a legitimate argument baffles me.

In my personal opinion, restaurants that refuse to provide this information are taking away my right to know what I am eating. I think that this is information that everyone should have. Food that we purchase in a grocery store has both an ingredient list and nutritional information. Why shouldn’t food purchased from a restaurant?

The restaurant industry needs to stop focusing on their bottom line and have at least a thought or two for their customers. If they did, laws requiring menu labeling wouldn’t be required; it would be provided without a customer needing to ask (a la Subway). It is sometimes rather scary that the food industries in this country have so little concern for the customers that they are providing food to.

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