Philadelphia's Nutrition Menu Labeling Law 2010-04-01
Posted Date April 2010
Eating fast food will never be the same in Philadelphia. From now on, when you walk into Chick-Fil-A, Saladworks, or any of your other favorite chain restaurants (with 15 or more locations nation-wide), you may be shocked at how many calories really are in your lunch. The nutrition menu-labeling law went into effect on February 1st for restaurant menu-boards; and as of April 1st restaurants are required to display calories, grams of saturated fat, trans fat, and carbohydrates, as well as the sodium content of meals on their actual menu.
Philadelphia follows California and New York in enforcing a menu labeling law; the regulations in Philadelphia, when written, were known to be one of the most stringent in the nation. Consumers should be made aware of the nutritional content in their food, the question is will it make a difference? Many believe that most health conscious people do not eat at fast-food restaurants in the first place; however, those with busy lives and limited time will eat out often. Fit-minded diners are not realizing that the Spinach Salad their having, from Saladworks, exceeds the daily limit of saturated fat for someone on a 2,000 calorie/ day diet; yet the Chicken Caesar salad surprisingly has only 7 grams of fat total, 1.5 grams from saturated fat. With this information displayed next to the price, diners can now make a more informed decision.
This is a law that empowers us as consumers, so we can win back our lives. We now have the ability to not only become more cognizant of our own health, but the declining health of our children. Statistics show that one in three children born after the year 2000 will develop Type II Diabetes; this is strongly due to the way we are eating. The rising cost of health care and prescription drugs also hide behind excess sodium, trans fat and refined carbohydrates in the highly processed foods we consume. Will this knowledge help overhaul America's Obesity Epidemic?
Lawmakers hope so, and city health inspectors will be making sure restaurants comply. Hopefully soon, like the smoking regulations, the menu law will be mandated throughout Pennsylvania, followed by the rest of America. Members of Congress are working on regulations for the new Health Care reform bill, foreshadowing a menu labeling law being brought nationwide.