American coffee chains to list calories on menus

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will now require cafés and restaurants with more than 20 locations to list calorie information on its menus. “Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home and people today expect clear information about the products they consume,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, FDA Commissioner. “Making calorie information available on chain restaurant menus and vending machines is an important step for public health that will help consumers make informed choices for themselves and their families.” Coffee shops such as Starbucks, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Peet’s Coffee & Tea will be required to clearly display calorie content of standard items on menus and menu boards, next to the name or price of the item. To help consumers makes sense of the new labelling, menus and menu boards must include the statement: “2000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.” Some US states, and companies such as McDonalds, have already introduced their own menu labelling regulations. According to the FDA, the 1990 Nutrition Labelling and Education Act, the law establishing nutrition labelling on most foods did not cover nutrition labelling for restaurants and other ready-to-eat foods. “In the years that followed, states and cities created their own labelling requirements for such foods,” said the FDA. “These federal standards will help avoid situations in which a chain restaurant subject to the federal requirements has to meet different requirements in different states.” Cafés and restaurants will have one year to comply with the menu labelling requirements.

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