When the Nutrition Labeling and Education act of 1990 went into effect in 1994, it required that nutrition labels be placed on food products but exempted restaurants.  A recent report from CSIP summarized evidence that proved more people eat out more often than ever before and US children eat twice as many calories at restaurants as at home, and that nearly everyone underestimates the calorie contents of restaurant meals. This and other information and pressure placed from other groups and organizations has led to a change in the law.

Health Care Reform Act-(Public law 111-148-March 2010)-tucked away on page 455 of the 906 page law is a provision for listing calorie counts on the menu boards of chain restaurants and adjacent to each food offered in vending machines and retail stores.  Establishments with 20 or more locations nationwide must post calories “in a clear and distinct manner” along with a “succinct statement concerning suggested daily calorie intake ( presumably the 2000kcal per day standard that the FDA uses for the “nutrition facts” on packaged foods).

Leigh Gistinger, CPNP