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17,000 Restaurants Must Provide Nutritional Info on July 1st

At a Starbucks in NYC | Photo via Center for Science in the Public Interest
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A new nutritional information and menu labeling law will take effect next Wednesday, forcing many restaurants in the state to provide facts about the food they serve. Split into two phases, the first one next week states that restaurants with 20 or more locations in California must provide brochures at the point of purchase with number of calories, grams of saturated fat, grams of carbohydrates and milligrams of sodium for all standard menu items. The second phase of the law begins January 1, 2011 and requires those restaurants that calorie information be printed directly on menus and indoor menu boards, according to State Senator Alex Padilla, who authored the bill modeling it on a New York City law for chain restaurants. He believes many restaurant chains will skip phase one and go directly to full implementation next month.

“This is a major breakthrough in nutrition policy. The way Californians order food is about to change. California is the first state in the nation to tackle obesity with menu labeling,” exclaimed Padilla, who cites state statistics on obesity costing California at least $8.4 billion. “All Californians will soon be empowered with reliable, accessible nutrition information that will help them make more informed, healthier choices."