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Calorie labeling! Coming soon to a buffet -- and drinks menu -- near you

March 23, 2010 | 12:15 pm

MenuInsurance for the uninsured, Medicaid expansion, the closing of the Medicare prescription drug gap, new taxes on healthcare plans, subsidies ... There's so much to explain and explore in the new healthcare overhaul measure that calorie labeling might seem a small thing in comparison. But that's the provision that's going to be in the faces of Americans every time they walk through the doors of a chain restaurant, wherever that restaurant happens to be.

If you think, "So? New York and California do this already," think again. The new measure goes further than the Golden State law, as Tuesday's L.A. Times story describes. Vending machines, buffets, alcoholic drink menus, drive-throughs ... all get to share in the labeling fun.

Let me repeat -- buffets, alcoholic drink menus, drive-throughs. (Vending machine items tend to come with their own labels, so consumers might understandably be less than shaken by that particular change.)

Of course, diners -- and drinkers (did we mention the alcoholic drink menus?) -- have to be brave enough to read the fine print. For the spotty track record in that regard, see a recent Times Health section package on California's menu labeling law: Dining out: It's a whole new game

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Some details from a McDonald's restaurant -- clearly labeled.

Photo credit: Associated Press


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