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What's on the menu? A dispute about menu labeling

August 19, 2009 |  4:53 pm

At least one restaurant chain has some reservations about New York's menu labeling law requiring large chain eateries to report nutritional information on menu boards or table menus.

Beverly Hills-based Hillstone Restaurant Group, the parent company of Houston's restaurants, won't post calorie contents and other information about its dishes at its two Manhattan locations (now also called Hillstone), saying that dishes contain different ingredients. The city, however, disagrees, and fined the company last December. The dispute goes before a judge Sept. 1.

The New York Post calls it "NYC Menu Mayhem" (gotta love that headline), and even celeb chronicler Perez Hilton decided it was blog-worthy. The New York Daily News weighed in as well.

We wonder if other restaurant chains will also challenge that law, and if similar disputes will happen here in California, where the first phase of menu labeling laws went into effect in July. All this comes when other states, counties and cities are adopting or considering adopting similar menu labeling laws, and federal legislation is being pushed as well.

In the meantime, California restaurant chains with 20 or more restaurants should provide nutritional information to diners now if they ask. And if they can stomach it.

-- Jeannine Stein

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