Last week, McDonald’s announced that it would begin posting calorie counts on the menu boards at its more than 14,000 locations in the U.S. “At McDonald’s, we recognize customers want to know more about the nutrition content of the food and beverages they order,” said McDonald’s USA President Jan Fields. “As a company that has provided nutrition information for more than 30 years, we are pleased to add to the ways we make nutrition information available to our customers and employees.”
In 2010, under the Affordable Care Act, menu labeling regulations became law, requiring restaurants and similar retail food establishments to post calorie counts adjacent to the items on menus and menu boards. In other words, McDonald’s would have had to do it one way or the other. “Several health advocates slammed McDonald’s Corp., accusing it of disingenuously spinning an inevitable requirement as if it were a voluntary decision,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Yet McDonald’s, at least, is complying with the law as originally passed, and doing so ahead of schedule.
Pizza Chains, Supermarkets and Convenience Stores Don’t Want to Post Calories
Many others will not go willingly. Pizza chains, supermarkets and convenience stores are lobbying for exemptions and modifications to the regulations on the grounds that they are “unreasonable or unnecessarily burdensome.” The law might make sense for restaurants, but not for them, they say.
Supermarkets, for example, could be on the line for posting calorie counts for thousands of items, from sushi assembled in-house to macaroni salad from the deli. Likewise for convenience stores, only on a smaller scale. And with “34 million ways to top a pizza,” pizza chains want alternatives that “would work for pizza.” These businesses make some legitimate points. But just because it would be hard for them — and really only at first — doesn’t mean that they get to be exempted from the law.
Next: The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2012
Photo 1 from Thinkstock, Photo 2 from King Chung Huang via flickr
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