Nanny State

New Bill Would Require NYC Restaurants to Post Carb Warnings

Councilmember Barron says the warning is no different from calorie counts.
Councilmember Barron says the warning is no different from calorie counts.

Looks like the city is spoiling for a new fight with restaurateurs: A bill being introduced today by Brooklyn city council member Inez Barron would force them to warn customers that foods with too much sugar and carbs are dangerous to people with diabetes. If it’s passed, restaurants would be required to hang a poster created by the Department of Health that spells out the “risks of excessive sugar and other carbohydrate intake for diabetic and pre-diabetic individuals.” Barron says the city has “an obligation” to provide consumers with this information just like it has with calorie counts.

Restaurateurs are arguing the city’s recent sodium warning is arbitrary because it only applies to chains, but Politico notes this carb-poster idea would “almost certainly stand on firmer legal ground.” The DOH has clearer regulatory authority in this area, plus all restaurants would be required to post the sign, not just what the city defines as “chains” (any place with 15 or more locations). It would become like the ubiquitous choking poster, in other words, and any restaurants failing to post the sign could be fined $500. It would be the DOH’s job to figure out what the poster should look like and at what level sugar and carbs become “excessive.”

The National Restaurant Association wasted no time releasing some choice words about the bill:

“New York City has changed nanny state from a noun to a verb,” said Christin Fernandez, a spokeswoman for the restaurant association. “This is ‘nanny stating’ at its very worst. The City has taken it upon itself to endlessly target the restaurant and foodservice industry with mandates that offer no solution to underlying health problems. This is just another attempt to showcase misleading information that attempts to scare people about products that are perfectly safe in moderation and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle. A poster on a wall is no way to improve public health.”

The DOH is currently reviewing the bill, says a spokesperson for the agency.


NYC Restaurants May Have to Post Carb Warnings