America’s New Year’s Resolution
In keeping with the New Year spirit, lets talk about resolutions. A New Year’s resolution is a tradition in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self improvement beginning on New Year’s Day. A New Year’s resolution is a personal choice and can be anything at all that you would like to resolve; going to the gym at least 4 days a week, spending less time attached to your smart phone, getting into work 10 minutes earlier each day, etc. But the number one most common New Year’s resolution is some variation of eating healthier/dieting/calorie counting. Well America, this New Year’s resolution may have just gotten a little bit easier for you accomplish…
In late November of 2014, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new rule, approved by the US government, that all businesses with 20 or more locations must post the calorie content of their food “clearly and conspicuously” on their menus. This ruling requires chain restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, movie theaters, amusement parks, and vending machines to comply by November 2015.
Menu items at chain restaurants, including drive-through and takeout boards will be required to post calorie content, as will drinks on menus, and soda dispensers, and some alcoholic beverages on menus. Displays of food, such as pastries at coffee chains such as Starbucks will also have to comply. Food prepared on site at large retail outlets (such as Target or Walmart) will also require calorie content. However, menu items at independent restaurants with fewer than 20 outlets will not be required to provide content calorie, nor will any seasonal or daily specials at chain restaurants. Neither will anything that is not on a menu at a chain restaurant, such as a bread basket or drinks at the bar. Other items that will not be required to comply with the new ruling are food on airplanes and trains, food from food trucks, and deli meats, cheeses, and bulk salads at grocery stores.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg stated that, “Obesity is a national epidemic that affects millions of Americans.” She also comments that, “Strikingly, Americans eat and drink about a third of their calories away from home. This effort is just one way the Americans can combat obesity.” The idea behind this new law is that people may pass on something such as a bacon double cheeseburger if they are aware that it could contain 1,000 calories. People also have the right to know clear information about the products they are consuming when they are out of their home. The idea of menu labeling is to make sure that customers process the calorie information as they are figuring out what to eat.
So, will this new law help in combating America’s obesity? For now, we can only speculate – however, I can certainly speak for myself… I know that if I see an item on a menu that has a high calorie count I will likely either look to order something healthier or I will order that item knowing that I owe the treadmill an extra hour that evening. Personally, I feel that this will definitely help in being more aware of my calorie intake when dining out.
What about you? We’d love to get your thoughts on the topic. Do you think that the new law will change your consumption behavior? Do you see yourself being more aware of what you eat based on calorie count? How do you think this law will affect food and dining establishments?