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April 21, 2008

Weighing In: Show Menu Calories Next To Prices Federal Judge Tells New York Restaurants

On Wednesday April 16th, a federal judge ruled that some New York City restaurants must list the calories of dishes alongside menu prices.

Opponents of the law, the New York State Restaurant Association had claimed this law infringed upon free speech, but Judge Richard J. Holwell of the United States District Court dismissed that argument.  In his 27 page ruling opinion, the judge decided that displaying calories alongside prices will enable consumers to make healthy eating choices. 

"The judge's ruling means that any restaurant chain with 15 or more nationwide outlets will have to display calorie counts on menus, menu display boards and food tags. The health department told the New York Times this covers about 10 per cent of the City's restaurants, around 2,000 in all.

The ruling is due to take effect [today], but the restaurant association said it would be asking for it to be held back pending an appeal.

A spokesman for the restaurant association told the Times that if the ruling went ahead and then had to be withdrawn after a successful appeal, it would cause "irreparable harm".

The association maintains that restaurants should make their own decision whether to show the calorie count of a dish on the menu, as with any other information about the nutritional value of the food it serves."

(Read full article in Medical News Today)

New York City has a much higher incidence in obesity and type 2 diabetes compared to the rest of the nation. Proponents of the new measure hope that it will lead to a lower incidence of these diseases. Dr Thomas Frieden, New York City's commissioner for health, told the New York Times that Judge Holwell's decision was a "victory for New Yorkers."

Your turn to weigh in

New Yorkers interviewed by the New York Daily News appeared to be in favor of the judge's ruling.  But we'd like to hear from you. 

Do you think this new ruling will help consumers fight obesity?  Let us know what you think!

Posted by Laura on April 21, 2008 | Permalink


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I would LOVE it if they did that here in Iowa. I think it will make people think twice on what they order...it sure would me! Love this blog.

Posted by: Linda Elliott | Apr 21, 2008 9:24:12 PM

I think adding the number of calories is smart decision in order to help fight obesity in NYC. However, it seems adding calories to a restaurant menu might be overwhelming for some of the population. I'm not sure where to stand on this ruling. Personally, I would love if that nutrition information was available, but sometimes I just don't want to know! Terrific article!

Posted by: Emily Hartman | Apr 22, 2008 12:51:25 PM

Look Here too


Posted by: Dave | Apr 22, 2008 10:38:06 PM

It may ruin my willful ignorance of what I'm ordering on date night, but I'm for it. I have no doubt it will change my ordering habits (though I doubt it will change how often I eat out), but I think that as we become more and more a eat out culture it is important. However, I do have family that is against it even though they can't articulate a reason why(?). I would be interested in hearing the otherside.

Posted by: DaniJo | Apr 24, 2008 1:37:44 PM

It's about time! We have been ignoring our bad eating habits for years - and maybe it is just the wake up call we need! Hurrah! The only thing restaurants are afraid of is - when people see the horrific calories in some of their dishes - they will stop going there.....

Posted by: HJ | Apr 25, 2008 12:29:35 PM

This is good news.

Posted by: Weight Loss | May 5, 2008 5:36:43 AM

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