Thursday, March 3, 2011

Calorie Content on Menu Boards - Truth in Numbers

by Kris Pitcher

Will the world as we know it change on March 23rd? 

On March 23, 2010, the President signed the health care reform legislation into law. Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations to list calorie content information for standard menu items on restaurant menus and menu boards, including drive-through menu boards. Other nutrient information – total calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, sugars, fiber and total protein – would have to be made available in writing upon request. The Act also requires vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines to disclose calorie content for certain items.

 Vending Machine Keypad
The FDA is required by law to issue proposed regulations to carry out these provisions by March 23, 2011.  
Find more information at

Many fast food restaurants have already had nutrition information available for some time. You might have had to pick up a fold out brochure or reference a wall chart. Information is widely available on-line, but that defeats the point of having it available as consumers are making choices. 
I like it when I get my Mc Donald's hamburger and the information is on the paper wrapper. (I take off the top bun and fold the meat & the bottom bun and eat it like a taco - BTW)
So, it will be interesting to see what regulation 'provisions' are made on March 23, 2011. Keep your eyes open for those giant reader boards. It will be eye opening to see the salad isn't always the best choice. The truth is in the numbers.   


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