FDA rule to require calorie listings in chain restaurants, theaters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now requiring chain restaurants, pizza parlors, movie theaters and large vending machine operators to disclose nutritional and calorie information on their menus. The FDA says the goal is to raise awareness of the health risks associated with obesity.

The new rules state that restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets must display calorie counts on all menus and menu boards. Additionally, consumers who request nutritional information--such as fat, sugar and protein--must be provided such information in writing. The rules hold true for sit-down restaurants, take-out food, pizza parlors, ice cream stores, bakeries, movie theaters and amusement parks, as well as for alcoholic beverages that are served in restaurants.

The FDA's new rules, which are part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, give restaurants one year to comply and vending machine operators two years. Some groups, such as the National Grocers Association and the National Automatic Merchandising Association, have expressed concern over what they are calling a "costly regulatory burden" and "insufficient implementation time." The restaurant industry, however, is largely supportive of a national standard, which they say will better inform Americans, who consume about a third of their calories away from home.

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Sourced from: Reuters Health News, U.S. introduces menu calorie labeling to fight obesity