Posting Food Allergy Information with Calorie Information

Sloane Miller Health Guide
  • So I'm in Boynton Beach, Florida, getting a post gym veggie bowl at Chipotle and I notice that there is no calorie number after the menu line item. I secretly miss it.

    In the state of New York, Mayor Bloomberg, or Bloombie as I call him, at least in my head, and the New York Board of Health made this proclamation in January of 2008:

    "The Board of Health today voted to require restaurant chains operating in New York City to prominently display calorie information on their menus and menu boards. The new regulation, which takes effect on March 31, 2008, applies to any New York City chain restaurant that has 15 or more outlets nationwide - about 10% of all New York City restaurants."

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    The Board of Health hopes the impact will be far reaching: "When people have access to calorie information, they use it. Nearly three quarters of consumers say they look at calorie information on packaged foods in supermarkets, and about half say that nutrition information affects their food selections. The Health Department estimates that this regulation could reduce the number of people who suffer from obesity by 150,000 over the next five years, preventing more than 30,000 cases of diabetes."


    That would be terrific! The actual impact of posting calorie counts in chains restaurants is unknown and won't be known for many years to come. However, I believe it is a great step towards helping the general population become more conscious of what they are putting into their bodies for nourishment.


    But what about food allergies? Calories counts don't assist those with food allergies.

    It looks like there may be some movement toward the right direction in that arena as well. At the end of January, I am attending an open hearing about possible legislation here in New York City held by The NY Council. They are proposing requiring restaurants to have posters about food allergies in all restaurants. This is a great first step toward decreasing the possible instances of food allergy illness while dining out. However, I'd like NY State to take it one step further and have menus with both calorie counts and clear delineations of the top 8 food allergens as posted by the FDA.



Published On: January 28, 2009