Calorie Count Rule Begins for Massachusetts Chain Restaurants in 2010

Fast Food
Fast Food

By November 1, 2010 every restaurant chain in MA with at least 20 locations will be required to post calorie information for all foods on their menu. This includes such franchises as Domino’s, McDonalds, Burger King, and Dunkin Donuts; and will affect nearly 5300 restaurants throughout the state.

But what about the kids? Shouldn’t we be focusing more on educating our kids and protecting them from garbage food? I think this is more important than posting calorie information on fast food restaurant menus, but at least we are taking some steps in the right direction.

Here’s the article from Boston.com: Calorie-count rule begins next year


The Anti-Obesity Campaign

So far this anti-obesity campaign promoted by Governor Deval Patrick has been met with optimistic support. They agree that this program should be beneficial to consumers who frequently eat at fast food restaurants, especially when they typically order foods higher in calories and fat from places like this.

Would it also not benefit us to know the macronutrient information in our food?

Aside from calories, I am also interested in knowing about:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Saturated and Trans Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fiber content
  • Sugar content

Please be aware that if you want this information too, you can usually get a nutrition brochure from most restaurants. I know for sure that I have seen these in McDonalds and Burger Thing before. Not sure about anywhere else.

Calorie Counting in High Schools

Some members of the Public Health Council have asked why the law does not affect school cafeterias. Many feel it is also important to educate our kids on the nutritional information for foods they eat on a daily basis.

I would tend to agree with the argument for including calorie information in schools, but will most students really care? Certainly the kids in elementary school and junior high won’t, but some high school students may possibly start to take notice.

Serve Students Healthier Food

I think a better solution would be to take the money that would be used to update menus and post nutritional information around the cafeteria, and just buy healthier food for the kids straight up. They can only choose from 2 or 3 menu choices daily anyway.

Why not make at least 1 menu choice healthy (and tasty) and include healthy-eating education in health class or gym class?

Expand the Health

Fast food chains are more applicable to this new law because their menus do not normally change much from day-to-day.

Several Public Health Council members have questioned why this law should not be picked up nationwide, and they have a good point. Watch your local TV, newspaper, or online news source as the calorie-count laws might be coming to your state sooner than you think.

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4 Responses to “Calorie Count Rule Begins for Massachusetts Chain Restaurants in 2010”

  1. I totally agree with Joy. There has been way too much “feature creep” with schools. Any topic gets relegated to “they should teach that at schools.” NONONONOnonononononon NO! School teach Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and History. All that other stuff that people should know before they venture into the big bad world they are required to learn from their parents/family, their peers, their church (if they have one) or on their own! (And yes, I think this includes “Where babies come from 101”)

  2. Back on topic about the above, I wonder how the law is enforced? Are there spot checks of portion sizes? Are restaurants required to receive advance approval if they switch brands of tomato paste? What happens if the supplier of egg substitute or non-dairy creamer changes their formulation without contacting their customers to inform them of the increase/decrease in calories? Who gets fined when Bob Burgerflipper accidentally gives the burgers an extra squish with the spatula?

    I agree that it is good to know just how many calories you are actually consuming, but I am always a fan of individual responsibility, not government mandated business responsibility.

    In theory, making restaurants provide this knowledge will help consumers to make healthier choices, right?

    I bet you $1 Million dollars (pinky finger at corner of mouth) that there is no significant change in the types of items sold at 95% of the restaurants in MA. If people want to eat fewer calories, then it’s their own damn responsibility to do it. Business owners should not be required to hold their hand and strap a helmet on their head while they attempt it.

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