Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Legislation Labels Calories on Fast Food Items

You know what today is?!

...not Monday! :) :) :) I love Tuesday- mainly because of Biggest Loser. Jillian Michaels is my homegirl.

The topic of the day is a touchy one: politics. (Oh, yes she did)

In March, the House of Representatives passed a health reform bill requiring all large restaurant chains to display calorie values next to items on their menus, both in-store and on drive-thru displays. The law also applies to vending machines (I can't imagine the fits this caused some people. Cough FritoLay cough)

Beyond calorie labeling, restaurants will also be required to offer additional nutrition information on request.

Display of nutritional information will still be voluntary for smaller businesses or daily specials.

Restaurants are required to be in accordance with this bill by 2014.

My first reaction is to be all about this guy. However, there are two sides to every issue, and I want to present both, because they definitely have merit.

  • Growth in dietitian jobs (dietitians gotta eat!)
  • Easier food allergen identification
  • Incentive for food manufacturers to produce healthier items
  • Enhanced information for glycemic control in people with diabetes
  • A hope that people will make a healthier choice by choosing lower calorie foods

  • Foods are not always standardized. Differences in preparation or accidental cross-contamination may lead to mislabeling
  • Consumers may not care. We are still not sure whether knowledge of calorie content will actually influence consumer choice.
  • Even if they do care, consumers may want to eat food and enjoy it without being confronted with the nutrition implications of their meal
  • Many food manufacturers argue that this legislation promotes the "good food/bad food" frame of mind, rather than a "everything in moderation" frame of mind.

While I do understand both sides, I'm leaning in favor, but I want to hear your opinion.

Do you agree with mandatory menu labeling for large restaurants?

If yes, do you think it should be required for small businesses as well?

If not, why not?

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday, everyone, and please let me know what you think!

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

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