Wednesday, January 23, 2008

fast food calorie counters

Well, it looks like hell just might be on the verge of freezing over. The New York City Board of Health approved a measure today that will require several thousand of the city's fast food restaurants, including all McDonald's stores, to "prominently" post health information about their foods. The new law is aimed at curbing obesity and rests on market research that the shows that consumers do make eating decisions after seeking out calorie and fat labels in supermarket aisles. You can bet that Mickey D's will be appealing the measure, but it certainly seems like a landmark victory for the cause of getting fast food labeled as the garbage that it is.

I gotta be honest, though: I've long been ambivalent to such measures, not because I don't agree that consumers should be informed (and certainly not because I'm any sort of fan of the fast food industry) but because it seems a little silly to be drawing a line at only fast foods. I mean, there are plenty of amazingly fatty and calorie-laden foods at non-fast-food restaurants, yet these businesses are getting a pass at having to advertise just how much sodium and just how many calories that double cheeseburger with bacon and a side of garlic mashed will cost you. I dunno, I kind of think it's unfair. And I mean, if this does go all the way through, who's to say that one day my mom won't have to hand me a spreadsheet every time she serves up her delicious yet diet-busting baked ziti? That would be kind of insane. That said, I suppose if people stop eating all that fast food crap it will serve a good purpose...I'll be interested to see what the numbers say five years from now. By the way, here's an interesting take on the debate, from CBS's 60 Minutes. What do y'all think?


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  2. I must say, I'm torn. Yes, there is the "how much is too much government intervention" aspect. However, at the same time, measures like this one might be unavoidable, sadly, in order to help begin to bring this country back to a respectable weight.

    To tell you the truth, I probably wouldn't eat that monster sandwich if I saw the saturated fat next to it. Would that stop me from my biweekly Arby's run though? I dunno...

    I welcome the change, tentatively.


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