The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has recently announced that it will, as of the end of March, begin enforcing a new regulation that says all chain restaurants in the city must now have the calorie content of menu items reflected right there on the posted menu. This is a first-rate law and one that the Board of Health is to be congratulated for.
It is the city's hope that the fat-filled truth will shock city residents into eating healthier.
The new version of the law applies to any chain restaurants operated in the city that has 15 or more outlets nationwide. This means that approximately 10 percent of restaurants in the city will be affected. While it is a shame that the "little guy" fast food places don't have to put up similar notices, it is a law that will definitely have an effect on the health of many.
Thomas Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner, was quoted by the local press as saying "Obesity is the only major health problem in the country and in New York City that is getting worse rapidly." He adds that the regulation "will help New Yorkers make healthier choices about what to eat; living longer, healthier lives as a result."
Burger King, McDonald's and others have already posted calorie information on their internet sites and in other media, but the information still remains hard to find. Now, with the new regulation, the city wants calorie information to actually be displayed on the menu so the diners can use the information while they are making their purchase decision.
The fast food industry is, of course, arguing the measure. "It would overly complicate menus and provide little benefit to consumers," remarked one company in an official statement.