N.Y. governor introduces menu-labeling bill

ALBANY N.Y. Gov. David Paterson proposed Monday a statewide menu-labeling bill, making good on intentions he had voiced earlier this year.

The mandate, which Paterson had called for during his State of the State address in January, would require chain restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores and mobile vendor operations with 15 or more units nationwide to post calories on menus and menu boards at the point of purchase. Restaurants would also be required to post calories on drive-thru menus.

The measure also calls for annual inspections of the locations to determine whether the caloric information has been posted. Those operators who are found in violation of the law would face up to $2,000 in fines.

“More than half of American adults are overweight or obese and the rates of obesity have tripled in children and teens since 1980,” Paterson said. “This legislation will help New Yorkers make better decisions about what they eat and will encourage more healthful choices, which will have a significant impact in reducing obesity.”

The legislation, if passed, will take effect Jan. 1, 2010.

Calorie posting is already in affect in New York City, and in the New York counties of Westchester and Nassau.

Currently, California and Massachusetts are the only states to have passed statewide menu-labeling laws. Last week, Oregon’s House of Representatives approved menu-labeling legislation that now is headed to the state Senate for a vote.

Other states considering menu-labeling legislation include Oklahoma, Indiana, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota and South Carolina.

In addition, federal lawmakers have introduced two menu-labeling bills at the national level.

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected] [3].