Judge: Fast-Food Menus Need No Calorie Count
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
And let's talk about high calories. A federal judge yesterday struck down a New York City rule that would have required some fast-food restaurants to post the calorie count on menus. The decision may embolden restaurants in their fight against a wave of new regulations aimed at obesity.
NPR's Nancy Solomon reports.
NANCY SOLOMON: The regulation would have required restaurants that previously made their calorie counts available to now display them on the menu board, and that was the flaw. A U.S. district judge ruled that it conflicts with federal law because it was applied unevenly. The lawsuit was brought by the New York State Restaurant Association. Its president, Patrick Sampson, says he'd rather see a public service campaign aimed at reducing obesity.
Mr. PATRICK SAMPSON (President, New York State Restaurant Association): What is the best vehicle in order to make that point? And I think this is something that needs to be looked at and really needs to be studied, instead of just doing feel-good legislation while we're taking care of that, when you haven't taken care of anything.
SOLOMON: The California legislature this week passed the country's first statewide law requiring menu labeling. Thirteen other states are considering similar laws.
Dr. Martin Fenstersheib of the National Association of County and City Health Officials says the new laws will try to avoid the problems the New York ruling came under.
Dr. MARTIN FENSTERSHEIB (National Association of County and City Health Officials): As far as I'm concerned, the number one epidemic in public health today is obesity. And if we ask people to do something about being overweight, then we have to give them the means to do that. And one of those is to tell them what they're eating when they go out to eat.
SOLOMON: New York City's Health Department says it will either appeal the decision or rewrite the rule to pass legal judgment.
Nancy Solomon, NPR News, New York.
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