Medicine

Calorie labels now required on all prepared food sold in NYC

Calorie labels now required on all prepared food sold in NYC

After years of delays, an Obamacare rule targeting chain restaurants officially took effect Monday.

The FDA finally passed a previously proposed mandate requiring all restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts on menus.

Seeking to alleviate retailers' concerns, the FDA delayed implementing the rules several times to give the food industry time to comply after finalizing the menu-labeling rule in 2013.

The controversial provision within the Affordable Care Act goes into effect on May 7 and requires food service businesses with 20 or more locations to list nutritional information for food items on all signs and printed menus.

But Kimbrough said he doubted that calorie listing changed most customers' behavior.

With this new policy, the hope is that it will help people become aware of how much they're really eating, and maybe change eating habits.

The law more than 10 years in the making and supporters say it will also help settle inconsistencies between state and national laws.

While Gottlieb says there is "no single more effective public health action" than reducing sodium, there is much debate over whether salt is good or bad within the scientific and nutritionist communities.

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New York City has been requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information for almost a decade. Opponents include the National Restaurant Association, and the chair of the American Pizza Community, Tim McIntyre, who had some criticism.

The menu labels aren't anything new in Silver Spring.

"What is the government interested in deciding that we should make sure that people should be able to eat a certain way or trying to influence them not to eat a certain way", Baskt said.

"When it comes to build-your-own foods, like choose-your-topping pizzas, calorie ranges can be used to make the various combinations fit on a standard-size menu board", Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb said the calorie rule, which can carry criminal penalties, features a 171-word definition of menu, and may or may not apply to beer, is "pro market and pro consumer".

"Looking at the calories on menu items is fun!"

During the first year of implementation, the FDA will work cooperatively with covered establishments to achieve high levels of compliance with the menu labeling requirements.

"The strongest data evaluating purchases at typical fast-food restaurants like McDonald's and Burger King suggests labels do not alter consumer purchases", researchers said.