Saturday, August 09, 2008

Quit Yer Whining and Tell Us What's in the Food!

Another day, another slice of fast food legislation.

July 1 brought about a new measure in New York where fast food and chain restaurants are required to provide calorie information for consumers. Not in a pamphlet that nobody reads or a sign that's jammed behind the 'Happy Meals' display.

Nope, the cold, hard facts about your Loaded Steakhouse Burger (please, I'd rather not know) or that snack of a frappucino and cookie at Starbucks are there right on the menu board where it's really hard for you to miss 'em.

No moratorium or ban for people to cry about. Just informed consumers being allowed to make their own choices. And isn't that what a free market is all about?

Well, it looks like California is on its way towards adopting a similar measure and Harold Goldstein and 'Fast Food Nation' author Eric Schlosser have an article about the effects of the New York and California measures in the Sunday Hartford Courant.

I personally like the article's closing paragraph, which sums up it up pretty nicely if you ask me...
In the same way that the law requires the octane level of gasoline to be clearly visible at the pump, the calorie level of food should be clearly displayed above the counter. If we can force the oil companies to tell us what's best for our cars, surely we can demand that the fast-food and restaurant chains tell us what we're putting into our bodies.


roopa said...

What a great quote!

Have you read The Omnivore's Dilemma? There are so many similar analogies in there - ranging from how people are particular about how their clothes are made but not about what goes IN their bodies to similar things about gasoline.

BTW, I work at the NYC Health Department now and we're the ones who are responsible for the calorie posting :)

Dan said...

Roopa... no, I haven't read that but I'll have to find it. Sounds like an interesting read. I pay a lot of attention to calorie counts in recipes but I must admit that when I eat fast food (which isn't too often) I'd almost prefer not knowing what I'm getting myself into.

How's NYC treating you?