The FDA has drafted new guidelines that will affect major chain restaurants around the country. The proposed guidelines would require many chain restaurants and vending machines to display the numbers of calories in their food in plain view of the consumer.
Businesses with more than 20 restaurant locations must post the calorie information in the same format size of the menu item or price, whichever is larger. The proposal also requires vending machine operators with 20 or more machines to display information in a “clear and conspicuous” manner.
The recommended guidelines are in the preliminary stages and could possibly change due to the 45 day comment period established by the FDA. Information received during the comment period could influence changes to the final labeling rules. Therefore, the rules can not be enforced until the period is over.
About two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Michael Hanlon, senior scientist for Consumers Union, commended the FDA for the new labeling requirement. Hanlon believes it will be a useful tool in guiding food choices. However, he does not believe this will be a cure-all for the nation’s obesity crisis.
Research has revealed that most Americans consume about a third of their calories from food prepared outside of their own kitchen. When considering food choices, most people usually do not consider the calories in food or tend to wrongly guess the number of calories.
In the last few years, researchers have brought the deception of hidden calories to light, which has played a role in the FDA’s decision to create the new guidelines. Dateline and other credible news sources have exposed the healthier options in many chain restaurants as deceiving to consumers. The reports revealed that consumers chose meal options because of the misleading information supplied by restaurant chains and consume more than the suggested daily calorie intake.