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FDA Adds Calorie Counting Regulations

Posted 11/25/2014 10:15 am by
Delicious 500-calorie breakfast treats.

Delicious 500-calorie breakfast treats.

When it comes to the battle of the bulge, the Food and Drug Administration is not an agency to mess with.  If you lie about your calorie count, they’ll shut you down in a blink.  Americans are eating out more than they ever have, drinking massive sugary drinks and generally gorging themselves even further into obesity, and the FDA is going to do anything they can to put a stop to it.  Step one is education; perhaps you won’t eat that whole chicken fried steak with sausage gravy if you knew it was a million calories before you even ordered it.  The FDA is going to mandate that all restaurants with over 20 locations list calorie content directly on their menus.

The regulations don’t just hit restaurants, either.  Any retail agency that sells food and has over 20 locations, from gas stations to movie theaters to vending machines, are covered and are going to have to figure out just how many calories they’re giving you with that serving of popcorn or cheese fries.  Pizza chains, which can’t exactly give you the calories per whole pizza, are going to be allowed to give you guesstimated calories per slice.  All in all, it looks like a big sea change in just how food is presented in the US, and perhaps it will make a difference in eating habits and selling habits.  Or we’ll just ignore those numbers and continue to eat whatever we want.

“The new rules around menu labeling are terrific,” said Margo Wootan of the Center For Science in the Public Interest.  “Once this [vending machine] provision goes into effect, people will be able to see outside the machine how many calories are in each vended item.”

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