On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration issued its “long awaited” rules concerning the posting of calorie count information at restaurants, etc. The rules themselves will not take effect until 2012. Unless, of course, they appear to be unpopular. In that case, much like the 1040 waivers already granted to companies, unions and states for their group insurance policies, and the imminent elimination of Medicare Advantage, I would suspect they, too, will be postponed until 2013.
The rules posted yesterday are somewhat different from the original proposal which was greeted with a considerable amount of push-back. You will be happy to know that,
movie theaters, along with airplanes, bowling alleys, amusement parks, hotels and other establishments where the sale of food is not a primary business,
have been excluded. Well, at least for the moment.
But, in addition to restaurants with 20 or more stores,
[c]onvenience stores still are required to post calorie counts, along with supermarket eateries, pastry and retail confectionary stores, coffee shops, snack bars and ice-cream parlors.
Applying these rules, the FDA estimated that “only” some 278,000 restaurants out of approximately 600,000 in this country will have to comply. The National Restaurant Association has estimated that the cost of compliance will be $315 million initially, with on going costs of $44.2 million. Obviously you will be paying those costs, but, think how much healthier you will be.
And, you might find this interesting. New York City required the posting of calorie counts in 2008.
A 2009 study published in the journal Health Affairs didn’t find evidence menu labeling influenced total calories purchased by New Yorkers. A Stanford University study of New York City Starbucks found average calories per transaction fell by 6% after calorie labeling started.
So posting calorie information either has no effect on eating habits, or, a very slight influence.
I don’t know about you, but, if I feel like a Big Mac, I’m going to order one. I already know it isn’t the healthiest food on the planet. And, I resent having to pay more for it so that Obamacare can tell me what I already know.
It would appear that the President has now solved the obesity problem in this country. Don’t you feel better already?
Perhaps he will now move on to some less important issues like unemployment, or soaring gasoline and food prices.