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.