It's been just over three months since the landmark healthcare reform bill was signed into law, and the federal government is now drafting the regulations that will bring some of the law's key anti-obesity initiatives to a restaurant or fast-food counter near you.
Specifically, the bill made it the law of the land that restaurants that are part of a chain of more than 20 stores must post for consumers the calorie content of their offerings. Consumers must be able to get, in writing and on the spot, a lot of additional details about the nutritional content of the food served, including its total fat, saturated fat, sodium, fiber, total carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber and total protein.
Now, several states and local jurisdictions beat the federal government to the punch on this. But the federal law will impose greater consistency on what is a patchwork of nutritional-posting requirements.
For patients with diabetes, those who tote their points with Weight Watchers, or watch their carbs on one of the many low-carb diets, for consumers concerned about sodium's impact on their blood pressure or seeking to banish saturated fat from their plate, the way in which of all this information is presented can make it easier or harder to follow an eating plan. So here's your chance to tell the FDA how you would have restaurants, delicatessens, fast-food-joints, shops brewing coffee or scooping ice cream -- even movie theaters -- organize and provide nutritional information for consumers like you.
Here's the link to give the FDA a piece of your mind. (After choosing "submit a comment," you'll need to supply the following "Docket number": FDA-2010-N-0298 and hit "search.")
The site for comments opened midday Thursday and will stay open for 60 days.
Still wondering how healthcare reform will affect you? Here's the government's comprehensive site.