Restaurants will have to post calorie counts on their menus under new FDA rules

Restaurants and large vending machine operators across the US will have to post calorie counts on their menus as part of a series of new rules set by the Food and Drug Administration.

According to health experts, these new measures will help tackle the country’s obesity problem. It is going to help let American consumers know exactly how many calories are in the meals they eat when they go out.

Over a third of the calories that Americans consume come from outside the home and it’s thought that the large portion sizes and unhealthy ingredients in the food where people dine at is fueling US obesity.

Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said:

“This is one of the most important public health nutrition policies ever to be passed nationally. Right now, you are totally guessing at what you are getting. This rule will change that.”

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said:

“Obesity is a national epidemic that affects millions of Americans. Strikingly, Americans eat and drink about a third of their calories away from home.”

The final rule not only includes restaurants, but also movie theaters, amusement parks, and certain prepared foods at supermarkets.

Only restaurants that have 20 or more outlets will have to implement the new calorie count rule. This includes most fast food chains in the US though.

Menu labeling became law as part of Affordable Care Act in 2010. A year later the FDA proposed how it should be implemented, however, because of significant opposition for pizza and movie theater chains it took three years to impose any new rules.