Reform requires calorie-labeling on menus

March 22, 2010 at 9:04 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- The healthcare reform bill passed in the U.S. House requires calorie-labeling on chain-restaurant menus, a health advocacy group says.

Margo G. Wootan, nutrition policy director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, said the legislation applies to chains with 20 or more outlets and requires them to provide additional nutrition information on request.

The restaurants will be required to provide calorie information on menus, menu boards, drive-through displays and vending machines.

Similar measures are already in effect or are awaiting implementation in California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, New York City and Philadelphia, but the federal standard will supersede the varied state and local requirements.

"Coffee drinks can range from 20 calories to 800 calories, and burgers can range from 250 calories to more than 1,000 calories," Wootan said in a statement.

"While it's a huge victory for consumers, it's just one of dozens of things we will need to do to reduce rates of obesity and diet-related disease in this country."

The National Restaurant Association dropped its longstanding objection to menu-labeling last year and supported the language passed in Congress, Wootan said.

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