April 7, 2009

Chain restaurant finally want menu labeling (to overrule state laws)

The National Restaurant Association finally sees the need for menu labeling of nutritional information. But don't be fooled. The want a stripped-down version passed in Congress to overrule all local and state laws governing menu labeling.

QSRweb reports:
The NRA has called for a national standard since municipalities first began instituting their own calorie count rules a few years ago. But it didn't support previous federal menu labeling legislation until the Labeling Education and Nutrition (LEAN) Act was first introduced last fall.
Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at public health group Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the LEAN Act has no chance of passing, however. The bill lacks the necessary support because the chairmen of the House and Senate committees handling the bills — Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. Edward Kennedy— have been co-sponsors of the Menu Education and Labeling (MEAL) Act.

CSPI and other public health groups have supported the MEAL Act, which has been introduced several times over the last five years but is not under current consideration. That bill has specified that restaurant chains with 20 or more units would have to post calories as well as saturated fat, trans fat and sodium content directly on menus or menu boards. Unlike the LEAN Act, the MEAL Act would not preempt menu labeling regulations in individual states.

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