The question is increasingly becoming rhetorical.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, both New York’s, and California’s state legislatures are considering requiring restaurants to post calorie counts on their menu items. These two states, both national trendsetters, are the first to introduce statewide menu-labeling legislation.
Have you heard the expression, “As goes California, so goes the nation?”
Traditionally menu laws require sit-down restaurants to list nutritional facts, such as calories, fat content, carbohydrates and sodium, for each menu item, while fast-food outlets with menu boards have to post calorie counts on the boards. Although not ubiquitous and not always visible unless upon demand.
California Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill in October 2007 because, the governor said, it placed a burden on some restaurants, but not others. He also noted that the bill provided little flexibility as to how restaurants could display nutritional facts while notating that an increasing number of restaurants were providing their information online.
Proponents of the bills say consumers want this information in order to make informed food choices. In addition, the proposed California bill--which would affect restaurants with 15 or more locations in the state--was conceived to avoid burdening small eateries and solo proprietorships.
"We're walking the fine line of [avoiding] telling people what they can or cannot eat, or telling the restaurants what they can or cannot serve," said Mr. Padilla, the CA bill’s sponsor.
A friend of mine works as a cashier for a large restaurant chain, and she told me, that when given the option for low-fat cream cheese or regular cream cheese, most of her customers choose the regular fat cream cheese. But given the now pending legislation—will consumers choices change?
What do you think? I’ve started a discussion on this topic, Should restaurants post their nutritional information?
It’s a conversation worth having, because,
After all, it’s about a healthy lifestyle!
Photo courtesy of rick