Knowledge for better food systems

Calorie labelling rules for US restaurant menus

Image: Kevin Simmons, Calorie Count, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

From 7 May 2018, chain restaurants in the US with 20 or more branches are required to include calorie counts on their menus. The rules are part of an Obama-era health care law.

Scott Gottlieb of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said: “National menu labelling could help make a big difference in America's obesity rates.” (See more here.)

Mary Bassett, New York City Health Commissioner, said: “...knowing the calorie count of our options allows us to make informed choices about what we want to eat. It could also inspire some businesses to change their menus and provide healthier options.” (See more here.)

However, some industry representatives were unhappy, with Jennifer Hatcher of the Food Marketing Institute saying: “We are trying to make lemonade out of the lemons FDA presented – working to implement a law that was poorly designed for the businesses we represent and poses liability challenges at the state and local levels with regard to enforcement.” (See more here.)

Read the full story here and view the FDA’s information page here. See also the Foodsource resource What are the influences on our food choices?

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North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

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