Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hungry for Facts on Fast-food Calories

picture of burger and friesA proposed city rule requiring fast-food chains to post calorie counts on their menu boards is in limbo pending possible legal challenges - but New Yorkers say they're champing at the bit for the information.

Waleska Caquias said she had "no clue at all" how many calories she was consuming Monday morning at a McDonald's in Union Square, where she ordered a steak and egg on a bagel - and ate some of her 9-year-old son's pancakes, too.

"I think it's great," said Caquias, a 36-year-old Bronx cook. "I will start seeing those calories and seeing it's not good for me. I think it will make me change my mind" about her food choices.

The rule would apply to eateries that have at least 15 outposts around the country. It takes effect Friday unless the New York State Restaurant Association appeals a District Court judge's denial of the industry's petition to put the rule on hold. Fines could be assessed starting June 6.

Some chains have already begun posting calories on their menu boards in New York City, among them Starbucks, Chipotle and Subway.

"There's a percentage that wants to look at the information and make decisions based on that," said Kevin Kane, a Subway spokesman. "It's ... not getting in the way of people who don't want it."

Johnny Dingle of Brooklyn is one who does.

"When you want to watch your weight and health, it's good to know how many calories you're consuming," said Dingle, 35. "I come at least twice a week."

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that the food fight "is a battle that we will win."

"Obesity is the single major public health problem that is actually growing in this country," he said. "We're trying to do something about that, not to take away anybody's right to a have a Big Mac or whatever you want to eat."

Source: here

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