Health Care Reform in Action: Calorie Labeling Goes National

By Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H.
The New England Journal of Medicine

Whenthe Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 went into effectin 1994, it required that nutrition labels be placed on foodproducts but exempted restaurants. The new law removes thatexemption. Implementing this policy has its problems and modest benefits, but calorielabeling is well worth the trouble.

Tucked away on page 455 of the 906-page health care reform act(Public Law 111-148) is a provision for listing calorie countson the menu boards of chain restaurants or adjacent to eachfood offered in vending machines and in retail stores. Establishmentswith 20 or more locations nationwide must post calories “ina clear and conspicuous manner,” along with “a succinct statementconcerning suggested daily caloric intake” — presumablythe 2000-kcal-per-day standard that the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) uses for the “Nutrition Facts” on packaged foods.

The advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest(CSPI) organized support for this measure after having issueda 2003 report arguing that nutrition labeling would help tocontrol the rising rates of obesity. The report summarized evidencethat more people eat meals away from home than ever before,that U.S. children consume twice as many calories at restaurantsas at home, and that nearly everyone underestimates the caloriecontent of restaurant meals.[1]

Read full post at The New England Journal of Medicine

5 responses to “Health Care Reform in Action: Calorie Labeling Goes National

  1. Big ****ing deal.

    That says nothing about the level of pollutants, nutrients or salts added. Not helpful one bit.

  2. hi,..
    reading your post rally open my mind about callories…
    great post,..

  3. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Food Freedom

  4. i personally think its a good idea. although calorie consumption doesnt necessarily tell you how bad (or good) the foods are but it is rather a nice (but vague) indication if you should it eat it or not. i am not a calorie checker when it comes to food but the more information that is available the better.

  5. Oh my god, take an English class. This article needs so much help it was painful to read. I mean is she pro labeling, con labeling? I thought this was an informative piece not a perspective until the last 250 words. I mean make a point and argue it, do not just list random research results and wrap it up with a “it’s still a good idea.” The fact that she felt the need to explain what a Calorie is after the entire article was ridiculous as well, that information goes in the introduction or no where near the article, a footnote perhaps, NOT the conclusion.

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