Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Calorie Awareness has been Terminated

Boy, I sure wouldn't want to face Big Food in a fight.

So far they've trounced the Province of Ontario (Bill C-283 to put Calories on menus voted down in the house), the State of New York (a judge ruled a State law requiring Calorie information on menus broke Federal laws) and now they reveal that they control the Terminator as yesterday Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed bill SB120 - a bill that would have required posting of Calories on menus in chain restaurants across the State of California.

The quote from Dr. Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy sums it up pretty well,

"By vetoing Senate Bill 120, the governor not only denies Californians of the basic information they need to make healthy decisions when dining out but he completely contradicts his commitment to the health of Californians"
Think it's not important, think having Calories on menus is an overblown issue? Please let me know who you are so I can sell you some stuff without telling you the price - my daughters' college funds need some topping up.

And now I must placate our new ruling overlords.

Big Food, I'm sorry I give you such a hard time on this blog. I love Calories. Everyone should eat tons of them and no one deserves to know how many they're having. Restaurants are part of the solution, not the problem. Your voluntary online programs are more than sufficient and anyone too lazy to remember to visit your websites before they go out, anyone too disorganized to decide where they're eating at the start of every day, doesn't deserve your incredible online caloric help. Oh, and of course it makes complete and total sense that putting the exact same information that's found on your voluntary online websites into your menus and on your menuboards would be impossible because of supply chain variability - the fact that the calories and information on your website doesn't change does not for one moment take any steam out of that argument.

Please don't terminate me....I have two beautiful little girls....I love you!

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  1. Theresa9:56 am

    Do you think part of the problem with calorie accountability is compliance with the kitchen staff? Do you think they will be "sued for putting too many calories in a meal"? Just a thought. There have been times when I've ordered a salad (after checking the web site) and it has come out with a half cup of slivered almonds instead of a tbsp. Frustrating.

  2. Definitely there's a bit of an honour system going on - but no more so than there is now with regards to the information you can in fact find on websites.

    Spot checks and fines could help with "enforcement" though I imagine lawsuits would be quite a stretch

  3. Here's abook many of your readers might find interesting. Stuffed and Starved, by Raj Patel
    (Markets, Choice and the Battle for the World's Food System)
    Raj Patel is now a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley.
    I was just given a publisher's proof of this to read.