WASHINGTON — Beginning next year, chain restaurants with at least 20 locations will be required to include nutrition information, such as caloric content, on menus, menu-boards and drive-through boards, due to a provision of the health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama last week.
In May 2008, after an 18-month court fight with its state restaurant association, New York City began enforcing a similar, municipal-level regulation. Since then, jurisdictions including the state of California, Philadelphia, Seattle and Portland, Ore., have also passed nutrition labeling laws for chain restaurants, and more than a dozen other states have been debating similar laws.
Preferring a single, national standard to the patchwork of regulations beginning to emerge throughout the country, several foodservice industry groups, including the National Restaurant Association, ultimately supported the provision included in this legislation, describing it as a “win” for the industry and its customers.
“We know the importance of providing consumers with the information they want and need, no matter in which part of the country they are dining,” Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association president and chief executive officer, said in an announcement. “This legislation will replace a growing patchwork of varying state and local regulations with one consistent national standard that helps consumers make choices that are best for themselves and their families.”