Monday, November 10, 2008

Philiadelphia Passes Toughest Menu Labeling Laws to Date

Following in the footsteps of New York City and the State of California, Philadelphia just became the newest member of the menu-board calorie posting club.

Just like NYC and California, Philadelphia's legislation requires that restaurant chains boasting more than 15 locations post calories on menuboards and menus.

Unlike NYC and California however, Philadelphia takes it one step further and has legislated that menus also contain information on trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and carbohydrate contents be printed in menus!

Of course the Philadelphia Restaurant Association's not too pleased.

They issues a statement that suggests that it's going to financially cripple the restaurant industry and make people think twice about opening up a new restaurant or expanding and thereby decrease employment in Philadelphia.

Alarmist much?

This story led me to revisit an older one - the LEAN act. It was meant to put calories on menus across the country but looking closer at the act I've realized why the food industry is supporting it. It actually doesn't require calories to be posted on menus or menuboards. Instead it suggests menus and menuboards as options but also allows for other means (like the giant, small font, difficult to read poster in some Canadian McDonald's, or trayliners etc.).

Knowing that, I withdraw my support of the LEAN bill and see it for what it is - an attempt by the food industry to weasel out of more stringent laws (like Philadelphia's, NYC and California's) as the way the LEAN act is written, if passed it will pre-empt all local, county and state labeling law legislation.