New Menu-Labeling Laws Proposed Across US

Posted by Jennifer Heigl

Hot on the heels of new legislation in Multnomah County (where Portland resides), the Oregon House of Representatives recently approved a new menu-labeling bill that would affect food service operations statewide. The proposed bill, similar to ones already passed in King County, Wash., New York City, N.Y., and Philadelphia, Penn., would require restaurants to display calorie counts for each of their food items, with fines up to $2000 for restaurants who do not comply.

New York Governor David Paterson also recently proposed that the city’s menu-labeling law be extended statewide. The New York  legislation ‘would require chain restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores and mobile vendor operations with 15 or more units nationwide to post calories on menus and menu boards at the point of purchase. Restaurants would also be required to post calories on drive-thru menus.’

“More than half of American adults are overweight or obese and the rates of obesity have tripled in children and teens since 1980,” Paterson said. “This legislation will help New Yorkers make better decisions about what they eat and will encourage more healthful choices, which will have a significant impact in reducing obesity.”

Similar legislation is being considered in Oklahoma, Indiana, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, and South Carolina.

Personally, I’m curious whether the menu-labeling will negatively impact restaurant business (‘Oh my! Look at the calorie count on that dish!’) and/or whether it will impact a diner’s decision.

Would the new laws change the way you eat?

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