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Calorie Counts Arriving On A Menu Board Near You

calorie counts

Calorie counts will become the norm under new rules from the Food and Drug Administration.

Under a provision in the 2010 health care law, businesses selling fresh foods would have to post nutrition content. Since then, a bitter battle has been fought over what the requirements entail and who is subject to them.

The requirements apply to:

  • Restaurant chains with 20 or more locations
  • Regular menu items, but not seasonal and daily specials
  • Some alcohol, but not mixed drinks served at the bar
  • Prepared foods at groceries and delis
  • Pizza chains, but the calorie count can be a range due to the variety of toppings

Health advocates have cheered the decision, although research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says only about 30 percent of consumers notice the calorie counts.

Marion Nestle of New York University argues that labeling will force restaurants to lower calorie counts. Studies from Johns Hopkins support that -- newer menu items in chains have posted lower calorie counts than previous menu items.

Industry groups, like the Food Marketing Institute, argue that calorie counts will cost groceries. Ultimately, groceries will sell less fresh food due to the high cost of training and then labeling every freshly prepared item.

The rules will officially go into affect next year.

Read More:

  • Calorie counts: Coming to a restaurant, movie theater, vending machine near you (Washington Post)
  • Want A Calorie Count With That? FDA Issues New Rules For Restaurants (NPR)

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