One of the many pieces of legislation buried deep in the 2,400 pages of the US new health care bill H.R. 3590: Patient Protection and
    Affordable Care Act,
    signed by President Barack Obama into law on Tuesday, is that
    restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets will be required to show
    calorie counts next to food items on menus and menu boards: even
    drive-throughs will have to follow the new rule. They will also have to
    show how many calories a healthy person should eat in a day.

    By this time next year, it could be in force across the nation, making
    it virtually impossible to go into a McDonald's restaurant and eat a
    Big Mac without knowing that you are consuming about a quarter of an
    average person's calorie requirement as you do so (according to
    McDonald's, a Big Mac packs around 490 calories).

    The new law mandates the US Food and Drug Administration to draft a new
    national standard for menu labelling that will supersede legislation
    already in place or planned in many US states and cities, and according
    to an Associated Press (AP) report, will affect some 200,000 fast food
    and other chain restaurants.

    The FDA will enforce the new law, and will have powers to initiate
    criminal prosecution if operators don't follow it, said the AP report.



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