Does anyone find the recent move by the FDA to increase calorie count labeling on menus a bit misguided? I am definitely not ignorant to the tremendous obesity problem in the United States – how could anyone be? It is blasted across the local news on an almost daily basis, let alone the fact that one can (in most places) simply go to the store or local mall and see first hand proof of our nation’s deteriorated physical image and health. It is a definite problem and one that officials are desperately trying to curtail, but are they really heading in the right direction?
Mary Clare Jalonick of the Associated Press wrote Saturday that “The idea is to make sure that customers process the calorie information as they are figuring out what to eat. Many restaurants currently post nutritional information in a hallway, on a hamburger wrapper or on their website. The new law will make calories immediately available for most items.”
Doesn’t that seem the least bit counter-productive that in a nation suffering from unprecedented levels of obesity, we can’t expect patrons of a restaurant to walk to a hallway poster or even pop up a website? I can probably count on my hands the number of people I know that do not own a web-enabled cell phone or similar device; even less that don’t have Internet access at home or work. It seems silly, to say the least, that once again the restaurant owner is being forced into spending additional money (in an economic time that is difficult at the least) to convert their existing menus or purchase new ones so that the patrons of their restaurant don’t have to walk to a hallway to find the caloric content of an item they may purchase.
I am 100% for promoting healthy eating habits and I truly applaud the many restaurant operators and concepts that are offering healthier options today, but what has happened to personal responsibility in this country? Why are today’s restaurant owners responsible for the overall health or weight of their patrons? Is there really a question of whether certain foods are better for you than others or if certain portions may lead to higher calories? Of course not. Add to this all the fact that certain sectors of the industry have already been exempted from this requirement because food products may not be their primary sale (movie theaters, bowling alleys, ALCOHOL, etc) ………so who is really drafting these requirements – The FDA or lobbyist groups in Washington?