Nutrition Labels for Fast Foods

Bill Would Require Restaurant Chains to List Calories on Menus

Inset from a model "dinner house restaurant" menu lists calories, saturated fat and sodium content. Center for Science and the Public Interest hide caption

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itoggle caption Center for Science and the Public Interest

The government has long required food sold in supermarkets to include information about calories, fat and other nutritional values. Newly introduced legislation in Congress would require fast-food outlets and other restaurant chains to do the same. NPR's Bob Edwards discusses the measure with the bill's sponsor, Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT).

DeLauro notes that adults and children get about one-third of their calories from dining out. "I believe people want to make wise choices about what they're eating to have a more healthy diet," she says. "I also believe they need information on which they can make those informed choices."

Chains including McDonald's, Domino's, Burger King, Wendy's, Pizza Hut and Subway currently provide nutrition information on their Web sites or in brochures, DeLauro says. She says her legislation would make that information readily accessible. "Before you go out to eat, you don't look at the Web site," DeLauro says.

The legislation, which would apply to restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets, is supported by the Center for Science and the Public Interest. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is expected to sponsor a similar bill in the Senate this year.

A group representing the restaurant industry opposes DeLauro's proposed Menu Education and Labeling Act. "As a result of the many choices that appear on our nation's restaurant menus, and people's desire to customize their order, there can be no feasible, one-size-fits-all application of menu labeling legislation," the National Restaurant Association said in a statement.



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