City Council has spoken, and they decided that chain restaurants should be required to post calorie information for all of their menu items.
The ordinance, sponsored by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, will take effect Jan. 1, 2010, and is similar to policy now in effect in New York and pending in California. It applies to establishments with 15 or more outlets, sweeping up and down the food chain: upscale national brands such as the Palm and McCormick & Schmick’s; fast-food and casual restaurants such as McDonald’s, Applebee’s and Subway (which posts the information now); spots such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Rita’s Water Ice and Starbucks; and convenience stores that serve prepared food, such as Wawa and 7-Eleven. A Wawa spokeswoman yesterday said the convenience stores might include information on their touch-screen ordering system.
Overall, this is probably a good idea. After all, as a city, Philadelphia has a history of having a weight problem (the Men’s Health article that deemed Philly the fattest city in the US was only from 1999). Beyond that, although we celebrate eating and have no patience for calorie counting, there are lines that must be drawn. Single dishes that contain 2,000+ calories are probably a good place to start. Also, transparency on the behalf of consumers is never a bad thing.
(That said, funny personal anecdote! We have a history of “rebel” ordering whenever presented with calorie counts. Last spring, we found ourselves at a New York City Cosi, where they already have a similar law in place. Instead of being using the information to be healthier, we ended up intentionally ordering a higher calorie item so as not to seem like “that girl.” We don’t anticipate this being a problem for most.)
[Photo: via Capellizzi/Flickr]