California First State to Pass Menu Labeling Law
California was the first state to pass a statewide menu labeling law. The bill applies to fast-food and other chain restaurants that have 20 or more outlets in California. It also applies only to standardized menu items, not daily specials or customized orders. Before the bill goes into full effect in 2011, restaurant chains will be required to provide nutritional information through in-store brochures. This new ban preempts previous local laws in San Francisco and other municipalities.
Boston BestBites Campaign Urges Restaurants to Promote Healthy Menu Choices
Restaurants participating in this campaign in Boston, Mass., advertise their healthier foods options as "BestBites" menu items. Restaurants that want to be certified must submit their menus for a nutritional analysis by the city. If a recipe does not meet the nutritional guidelines, a nutritionist works with the restaurant to consider healthier ingredients or preparation methods. Participating restaurants receive specially-designed materials that they can use to promote the program and will also be featured in advertisements highlighting the Boston BestBites program. The program has been endorsed by the American Heart Association of Massachusetts.
New York City Requires Calorie Labeling in Restaurants
This notice provides information and context regarding the amendment to the New York City health code to require calorie labeling in food service establishments with standardized menu items. The regulation intends to make consumers aware of the calories in foods they purchase and consequently make them less likely to purchase foods they know are higher in calories.
Multnomah County, Ore., Policy Order
This policy order requires chain restaurants in Multnomah County to accurately provide the total calories, saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrates and sodium for each menu item offered.
Los Angeles Limits Fast-Food Restaurants in Vulnerable Community
The Los Angeles City Council passed a one-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants opening in the lower-income area of South Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health stated that the reasoning behind the ban is that 30 percent of adults in the South Los Angeles area are obese, compared with 19.1 percent in metropolitan Los Angeles and 14 percent for the affluent Westside of Los Angeles. As in most cities, minorities are disproportionately affected—28.7 percent of Latinos and 27.7 percent of African Americans are obese in South Los Angeles, compared with 16.6 percent of whites in the area. A study found that 73 percent of South Los Angeles restaurants were fast-food outlets, compared with 42 percent in West Los Angeles.