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Calories on menus -- do you really want to know?

March 22, 2010 |  6:21 pm

Californians already know that if they go to certain chain restaurants -- the ones that have 20 or more locations in the state -- they will be treated to a list of calorie counts for the food they're ordering. (Some salads at California Pizza Kitchen have more than 1,400 calories, a shocker that could easily send a dieter scurrying to IHOP, where chocolate chip pancakes have fewer than 700.)

Now, the calorie counts move nationwide. Under a provision in the new healthcare package, restaurant chains with more than 20 outlets in the U.S. operating under the same name will have to post calorie information on their menus. Once signed into law by President Obama, the rules will also apply to buffets, retail stores and vending machines. Bar menus will have to show the calories in alcoholic drinks.

The restaurant industry associations have signed on to the legislation, and Mike Sicilia, spokesman for the California Department of Public Health, said the more information that consumers have, the better. But is there an argument for the other side? Is this a great idea or an example of a nanny state run wild?

For more, read the article here.

-- Sharon Bernstein
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