NEW YORK CITY – December 5, 2006 – Restaurants that publish calorie information generally do so in hard-to-find brochures, on the internet, or on food wrappers or tray liners where customers cannot see it at the time of purchase. Today, the New York City Board of Health voted unanimously to require restaurants that make calorie information publicly available as of March 1, 2007 to post it on menus and menu boards, where consumers can see it when they order. The Health Department estimates that this proposal would affect about one in 10 restaurants. The final notice of adoption is online at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/public/notice-adoption-hc-art81-50.pdf.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said, "Eating too many calories leads to weight gain, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Today, the Board of Health helped New Yorkers make better informed choices by requiring restaurants that have made calorie information available to the public now place it where consumers can see it when they are deciding what to buy. New Yorkers have this information available to them when they buy their groceries. Now we will be empowered to make more informed choices in restaurants as well. Comments on this proposal were overwhelmingly favorable, by a ratio of 100:1. Nonetheless, in response to difficulties voiced by some restaurant operators, we’ve changed the implementation plan to help restaurants implement the new regulations."
Background Information about Revisions to Calorie Labeling Proposal
This proposal will affect restaurants with standard menu items that make calorie information publicly available (e.g., in a brochure, on packaging or online), on or after March 1, 2007 – an estimated one in 10 New York City restaurants.
In response to comments received, the Department will:
- Allow alternative ways to post calories if approved in advance by the Health Department
- Change posting to calorie range (instead of median) for menu items that come in different flavors or varieties
- Allow a 3-month grace period (July 1, 2007 – Oct. 1, 2007)
- No fines during grace period
- Violations will not be considered in the pass/fail decision of routine sanitary inspections
A summary of all comments, including lists of comments in support or opposition, is available online at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/cdp/cdp-pan-calorie-comments-response.pdf. A total of 2,267 written comments were received (including 45 people who spoke at the October 30 public hearing). Overall, 2,245 (99%) comments supported the proposal and 22 were in opposition. Unqualified support for the proposed changes came from many leading national and local professional societies, academic institutions, local hospitals and advocacy groups, including the American Medical Association, American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, New York Academy of Medicine, New York University, Columbia University, Yale University, Harlem Hospital Center, Montefiore Medical Center, Community Service Society of New York and the Citizens’ Committee for Children.