Approximately one-third of the meals consumed by Americans take place outside of the home, and in June, the National Restaurant Association reported Americans spend 47 percent of the food dollar on dining outside of the home. These rising figures have caused concern among health advocates who suggest eating outside the home leads individuals, especially children, to make less nutritious choices than when eating at home. Furthermore, increasing restaurant portion size, as well as the inclusion of unhealthy, but delicious, ingredients are considered contributing factors to rising obesity rates.
Today, the Food and Drug Administration announced new federal guidelines requiring all chain restaurants, movie theatres and pizza parlors to make public calories. These rules are broader than previously expected. Previous legislation, enacted as a part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, proposed similar menu labeling requirements but were delayed.
Margo Wooton, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says
This is one of the most important public health nutrition policies ever to be passed nationally… Right now, you are totally guessing at what you are getting. This rule will change that.”
The rules include food establishments with over 20 locations in the US, food products in vending machines and amusement parks, as well as premade food in supermarkets. Alcoholic beverages at restaurants will also be included. The new rules are expected to become enforced sometime next year.
Read more here- “FDA to Require Calorie Count, Even for Popcorn at Movies,” (Sabrina Tavernise and Stephanie Strom, The New York Times)