It’s about to get a lot harder to ignore how many calories you’re consuming.
Starting Monday, all restaurant, grocery and convenience store chains with 20 or more locations are required to display calorie counts for all items on their menus to comply with a mandate from the Affordable Care Act.
According to the Washington Post, the nutritional information should be visible on menus, both on display boards in stores and handout menus, and digital ordering kiosks.
While most larger chain restaurants already display nutritional information after Congress passed the law in 2010, the Food Marketing Institute says the effect on grocery stores will be most obvious, where you will now be able to view calorie counts on salad bar stations, bakery items and rotisserie orders.
The changes will likely not be immediate as locations start to follow the new rule and incorporate the information for their consumers. For the first year, the Food and Drug Administration will be educating locations on the best ways to display the newly required information.
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“We know that providing calorie information on menu labels actually inspires consumers to make smarter choices about overall consumption, when they want to,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told the Washington Post. “Studies show a reduction of anywhere from 30 to 50 calories a day, on average, for consumers who are eating out — and consumers eat about one-third of their meals outside the home. So over the course of a year, that could translate into three to five less pounds gained, just from the reductions that you achieved through providing more information on menu labels.”
Although the rule went into effect on May 7, the Washington Post reports that the FDA will not be enforcing penalties against establishments who have not posted calorie counts until 2019.
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