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The FDA proposes new calorie labeling requirements

In 2012, if a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirement passes, you will know just how many calories you’re paying for at a restaurant. It could become even harder to indulge in that hamburger without feeling guilty!

Last Friday, in attempt to gain ground against the nation’s obesity problem, the FDA proposed that all fast-food chains and restaurants with 20 or more locations be required to post nutrition labels on their menus. (The labeling provision was part of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health overhaul law.)

Aside from restaurants and fast food chains, these rules would also apply to vending machines, coffee shops, convenience stores and grocery stores. However, many food sellers are exempt, including movie theaters, bowling alleys and airlines—places where food sales are not the primary business. And whereas beverages such as soda and juice must have nutritional information posted, alcoholic beverages and drink menus would be exempt from the requirement.

While this may be a step in the right direction to solving the obesity issues at hand, I’m not convinced it will have much of an impact on what patrons choose to order. Would it stop you from buying a cheeseburger? Will the shock of how calorie loaded some salads can be alter the stigma that salads are a healthier option? Either way, it’s not a bad thing to have the information available, right?

Before the requirements take final form next year, they are subject to another round of public comment. What do you all think?

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