Counting Calories in the Fast Lane

 

 

In the concern for public health a federal judge ruled that New York City could mandate fast food chains to post caloric values on their menus.  The judgment was handed down yesterday and could take effect as early as Monday.  The new health regulation is required of any chain with fifteen or more restaurants across the country.

It stipulates:

“the required disclosure of caloric information is reasonably related to the government’s interest in providing consumers with accurate nutritional information and therefore does not unduly infringe on the First Amendment rights of New York State Restaurant Association members.”

Many fast food restaurants have already voluntarily implemented a caloric count on their menus, including Starbucks and Chipotle, however, with the new system any restaurant failing to comply would face fines.  The health department is optimistic for drastic results claiming the inclusion of calories on menus could “prevent up to 130, 000 New Yorkers from becoming obese and will stop another 30,000 from developing diabetes over the next five years.”

This access to information could cause Burger King diners a “Whopper Freakout” for a whole other reason.  Increased portion sizes deemed “gut busters” and a comedic ad campaign representing people losing cool over a quarter pound beef patty has resulted in the chain’s recent success.

Many fast food chains are benefiting from the soaring food costs and faltering dollar by offering larger portions for less.  It seems New Yorkers will be facing the choice of a couple cents saved or several calories bypassed come Monday.