Steve Wise: List Calories Directly on Restaurant Menus
Counting your calories could get a whole lot easier under a proposal released Wednesday that would require Florida restaurants and fast food chains to list the caloric content of each meal on the menu.
Rep. Ed Homan, R-Tampa, and Sen. Steve Wise, R-Jacksonville, have filed legislation that would require nutritional labeling to appear directly on the menus. The information, the lawmakers said, will help patrons make healthier choices and put a dent in the nation's obesity rate.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state's obesity rate in 2008 was 24.4 percent.
“Our nation is getting heavier if you haven't noticed, much heavier,” Homan said.
The legislation would give big restaurant chains one year to comply with the legislation and mom and pop places two years.
Other states and cities have enacted similar legislation. California passed a law last summer requiring menu labeling and New York City and Philadelphia have similar requirements. Several other states are looking at the idea this year as well. Legislation is also being considered on the national level, which if passed, would supersede anything passed on the state level.
The Florida Restaurant Association released a benign saying its members are working to provide healthy choices on menus, but stopped short of endorsing the plan, which would ultimately cost businesses a considerable sum of money to reprint the menus with the nutrition information.
“The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association continues to support the proactive measures already taken by our industry in providing consumers with heart healthy choices on their menus,” said the group’s president, Carol Dover. “FRLA is engaged at the federal level and working to provide a national solution thus avoiding unnecessary regulation on the hundreds of thousands of Florida restaurateurs during these difficult economic times.”