You could argue with U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell's decision to uphold New York City's mandate that chain restaurants must display nutritional information on their menus. “It seems reasonable to expect that some consumers will use the information disclosed…to select lower calorie meals…and these choices will led to a lower incidence of obesity,” he opined last month.
Or you could poke holes in the New York City Board of Health's projection that posting calorie counts on the menus of just 10 percent of the city's restaurants-that's 2,400 units in all — will prevent 150,000 people from becoming obese and stave off 30,000 cases of diabetes over the next five years.
But if you operate a chain restaurant in New York that has 15 or more outlets nationwide, you'd better come into compliance with what's known as Regulation 81.50 by June 4, 2008. That's when fines and penalties begin if you don't toe the line.
Menu labeling means a big headache and expense for this small segment of NYC operators. But why should everyone else care? It's because your restaurant could be next. Menu labeling is the second half of New York City's two-pronged attack on obesity. The first part, no-trans-fats in restaurants, swept through the foodservice industry so fast it's hard to believe the actual regulation has been in effect in New York only since June 1, 2007. Menu labeling mandates may not come down as fast, but we think you'd better get ready.