Philadelphia Takes Menu Labeling to a New Level

 There is good news for all of you health-conscious people living in Philadelphia.  A law just passed last week requiring chain restaurants (those with more than 15 stores nationwide) to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards.  But move over New York City, Philadelphia’s new law is the most stringent in the country.  In addition to calories, the new law requires that printed menus list sodium, carbohydrate, trans and saturated fat content also.

 However, don’t expect to see these changes anytime soon because the new law will only go into effect January 1, 2010.  This will give restaurants time to prepare for the changes.  (Hopefully, part of this preparation will be coming up with new menu items that are lower in fat, calories and sodium!)

According to an article in Nation’s Restaurant News, the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association (PRA) has “asked for a meeting with Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter in hopes of convincing him to veto the law.”  The PRA recognizes that a veto is unlikely and could be overridden by the council since the bill was passed with a 12-5 vote.  Regardless, they will probably try for a veto or an amendment to the bill.  So, if you would like to see this law go into effect unchanged, it could be a good idea to let your local member of congress know that you support the law.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest makes it easy to take action if you support this law or want a similar law to pass in your area.

Resource: Philadelphia Gives Menu Labeling a Twist.  http://www.nrn.com/breakingNews.aspx?id=359940&menu_id=1368  Nation’s Restaruant News.  November 6, 2009.

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