Retailers, consumers and prices
The Governator wants to slim you down
California Gov. (and “Terminator” star) Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday signed a law that would make the Golden State the first in the nation to require restaurants to post calorie counts and other nutrition information on menus.
The move from the nation’s most populous state is just the latest salvo in its war on obesity.
In July, California became the first state to ban artery-clogging trans fats in restaurant food. Last October, Schwarzenegger signed a bill banning artificial trans fats in food served at public schools.
The National Council of Chain Restaurants called California’s new menu labeling law “well intentioned” but said it would prefer a federal standard.
“What’s really needed is a consistent, uniform, nationwide standard so that consumers from Florida to Alaska have a clear understanding of the nutritional content of food in restaurants,” NCCR President Jack Whipple said in a statement.
Not to be outdone, Yum Brands Inc on Wednesday said its Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s and A&W All-American Food outlets would begin putting calorie counts on menu boards in company-owned restaurants nation wide.
Le Pain Quotidien, a bakery and cafe that features organic ingredients, said its restaurants in Los Angeles rolled out new calorie-count menus on Monday. The chain’s New York City restaurants also post calorie counts, as is required by city law.
But some experts and consumers said nutritional information need to be reframed to be more helpful.
Adam Drewnowski, director of the nutritional sciences program at the University of Washington said consumer messages have become increasingly negative and that public health campaigns should focus on the total nutrient value of food.
A recent Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition-commissioned survey of 1,019 adults in the United States backed that view.
It showed that 61 percent of respondents were interested in learning about both the positive nutrients and the nutrients they should limit when they are trying to select healthy foods.
And, 78 percent of survey participants said they are looking for a simple, practical tool that would help them build a healthy diet based on getting the most nutrients from their food choices.