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The New York City Council may overturn regulations passed by the city’s Board of Health late last year that require fast food stores and chain restaurants to prominently display calorie information on menus or menu boards.

According to the New York Times, the new proposal – part of a bill being introduced by Councilman Joel Rivera of the Bronx, wouldn’t get restaurants off the hook completely; rather, it would just allow the retailers the alternative of providing it on posters or brochures. “It’s a compromise,” Rivera tells the Times. “It brings to the table the No. 1 goal of informing the consumer, while not making it too expensive for the industry.”

The original regulations were passed at the same time as another regulation that got a lot more attention – the virtual ban on the use of trans fats by every restaurant in the city, ranging from four star bistros to corner hot dog vendors.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) criticized the new proposal, saying that it subverts the intent of the original regulations, which is to make calorie count as obvious as possible to an increasingly obese population. And the city’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, tells the Times that he expects the City Council to reject the proposal. “If you’re going to post nutritional information, you need to put it where it would make a difference and where customers are going to recognize it,” he says.
KC's View:
We’d like to suggest something radical here – that it doesn’t really matter where you post calorie and nutritional information in a fast food restaurant. People who are interested in reading it and using it when making meal choices will find it…or will abide the simple rule that if you are trying to be careful about your diet, eliminating fast food is a good first step.

We think it is good to have the information available. But we suspect that crowding menu boards and hitting people over the head with it isn’t going to make it any more effective.