Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care Law Includes Menu Reform

The health care reform legislation that President Obama signed into law today also includes a new requirement for the country's restaurant chains.

Restaurants chains with 20 or more locations will be required to post nutritional data for their menu items. The requirement is modeled on similar regulations already in place in New York City and California.

The NRA (National Restaurant Association) is praising the requirements:
“The passage of this provision is a win for consumers and restaurateurs,” said Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association President and CEO. “We know the importance of providing consumers with the information they want and need, no matter in which part of the country they are dining. This legislation will replace a growing patchwork of varying state and local regulations with one consistent national standard that helps consumers make choices that are best for themselves and their families.”
The regulation will also apply to posting nutritional information on the outside of vending machines. The American Beverage Association has announced that their members were going to start doing this anyway.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wired: Should Fast Food Be Banned

Wired magazine's Wired Science Blog asks the question: Should Fast Food Be Banned?

In light of recent passed and proposed city ordinances prohibiting the construction of new fast food restaurants, the question is a timely one.

Sure, ""fast food is generally high-calorie, high-fat and low-nutrition."

But it is worth considering that "a lot of people eat fast food because it's cheap, especially in our recession-ravaged moment."

There are also lots of good comments from Wired readers:

Asad Quraishi writes:
"Groan! Now the poor can't decide for themselves what they eat. I guess being poor lowers your intelligence so much you need someone to tell you what you can and can't eat."
Gig writes:
Here's an idea. If the US government wants to prove they give a sh*t about their citizens' health, how about socialized medicine like in France, Canada, England, etc. America looks more and more like a third world country. I am tired of being around unhealthy people. There are McDonalds in France and people are healthy and thin there.
Matt writes:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure a McDonald's burger isn't any more unhealthy than a burger I cook myself on the grill or one I pay $10 for at some "classier" restaurant.
What do you think?

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

California trans-fat and fast food laws

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a law that bans trans-fat from all items served in restaurant. California restaurants must comply by 2010 and bakeries by 2011.

The Fast Food Maven has a great local breakdown of how the various fast food chains are coming along with their trans-fat reduction program.

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Once the mayor approves a ban sent to him by the Los Angeles city
council, no more fast food chain restaurants can be built in low-income areas
of Los Angeles. (more from the LA Times).

This might encourage local restaurant ventures, which would be great, but is it right to prevent companies from giving people what they want? The fast food chains wouldn't want to build there if the people didn't want their food. Maybe a city-wide nutrition education program would be a better idea. Is the day approaching when the government tells us what we can and cannot eat?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wendy's NYC nutrtional info

Wendy's has posted the following on their website regarding nutritional information posting in NYC:
We regret that Wendy's cannot provide product calorie information to residents or customers in New York City. The New York City Department of Health passed a regulation requiring restaurants that already provide calorie information to post product calories on their menu boards -- using the same type size as the product listing.

We fully support the intent of this regulation; however, since most of our food is made-to-order, there isn't enough room on our existing menu boards to comply with the regulation. We have for years provided complete nutritional information on posters inside the restaurant and on our website. To continue to provide caloric information to residents and customers of our New York City restaurants on our website and on our nutritional posters would subject us to this regulation. As a result, we will no longer provide caloric information to residents and customers of our New York City restaurants.

We regret this inconvenience. If you have questions about this regulation, please contact the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and refer to Health Code Section 81.50.
Subsequently, a judge has prevented NY from enforcing the new law, stating that the rules, which would have applied only to restaurants that already disclosed calorie data, "would have attempted to punish the very restaurants that are already providing accurate and comprehensive nutrition information."

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Monday, September 10, 2007

LA proposes limits on fast food

The LA Times reports that the Los Angeles City Council will be asked this fall to consider an up to two-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in South L.A.

from the LA Times:
"The people don't want them, but when they don't have any other options, they may gravitate to what's there," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who proposed the ordinance in June, and whose district includes portions of South L.A. that would be affected by the plan.

In just one-quarter of a mile near USC on Figueroa Street, from Adams Boulevard south, there are about 20 fast-food outlets.

"To be honest, it's all we eat," Rey Merlan said one recent lunch hour at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. "Everywhere, it's fast food everywhere."

Merlan said it wasn't likely that a limit on new restaurants would change peoples' habits, even though he thinks it's a good idea.

A Times analysis of the city's roughly 8,200 restaurants found that South Los Angeles has the highest concentration of fast-food eateries. Per capita, the area has fewer eating establishments of any kind than the Westside, downtown or Hollywood, and about the same as the Valley. But a much higher percentage of those are fast-food chains. South L.A. also has far fewer grocery stores.

Thirty percent of adults in South L.A. are obese, compared with 20.9% in the county overall, according to a county Department of Public Health study released in April. For children, the obesity rate was 29% in South L.A., compared with 23.3% in the county.