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NYC Puts Foodservice Operators in the Hot Seat

NEW YORK CITY — Despite the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announced delay of menu-labeling requirements for restaurants and convenience stores, New York City will implement enforcement of menu labeling for chain retailers and restaurants as of May 22.

In a statement, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that all city chain food retailers offering prepared foods, or “restaurant-type foods,” will be required to post calorie counts on menu boards. In addition, chain restaurants and retailers will be required to have full nutritional information—not just calories—for standard items listed on the menu and available on-site, and they will be required to post a statement about the daily recommended caloric intake of 2,000 calories. This rule is required for all chain restaurants with 15 locations or more nationwide, affecting approximately 3,000 restaurants and about 1,500 retail chains that offer foodservice.

Starting May 22, the Departments of Health and Consumer Affairs will begin enforcing the updated calorie-labeling rules by educating businesses during regular inspections. On Aug. 21, both agencies will also begin issuing notices of violation subject to fines for not following the updated rules. Chain restaurants, c-stores and other retailers that are not in compliance will be subject to fines ranging from $200 to $600.

“We are all tempted to make unhealthy choices, but with these new, common-sense rules, New Yorkers will have the information to make better choices and lead healthier lives,” said de Blasio. “We can no longer wait for federal action, and urge other cities to follow our lead.”

“Who hasn’t grabbed a prepared meal when you’re out running errands?” said Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “It is just as important for us to be able to know how many calories are in one of those meals as the ones in a prepackaged snack or meal at a chain restaurant so we can better take care of ourselves. We are proud to join the health department in taking a national lead in enforcing this law as part our patrol inspections of chain foodservice establishments, like convenience and grocery stores.”

According to the mayor’s statement, New Yorkers can expect to see the following changes at chain convenience stores, grocery stores and restaurants as a result of the updated calorie labeling rule:

  • Calorie information about prepared foods sold in chain convenience stores and grocery stores.
  • A new statement on menus and menu boards at all chain restaurants, chain convenience stores and grocery stores to give more information about calorie needs. The statement reads: “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.”
  • Additional nutrition information about menu items available on-site upon request, including total calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugar and protein.
Aimee Harvey


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