Editorial: labeling of food on menus is necessary | Editorial



It's hard to imagine that before the federal Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 went into effect, trying to decipher how much sodium was in a bag of chips was next to impossible. It could have required a chemistry set and an advanced degree.

Now, those black and white paintings have become ubiquitous in almost every food product we buy. The most aware of our health we use them as guides. More should.

Illinois has the 18th highest rate of adult obesity in the United States, according to the study, "The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America," published last August. That is alarming.

The national obesity epidemic is one of the reasons why President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act 2010 included the mandate to list calories in restaurants with 20 or more locations, movie theaters and grocery stores. Above all that means in the menus. Another part of the act requires a voluntary reduction of sodium in the food.

Those rules were finally activated only this month, after years of delays and lobbying. Domino's, for example, pushed for legislation that would allow the company to post nutritional data online, arguing that changing menus was a burden.

Another critic, in 2011, was Andrew Puzder, then the CEO of the company that owns Hardee & # 39; s, who said the rules did not solve anything.

"It's another of these state regulations that is designed to solve a problem that is not really a problem at all," said Puzder, who turned out to be President Donald Trump's first. choose a job secretary

That's a fair argument. However, although we often raise the alarm about excessive government in companies, we also believe that this label is very necessary.

Here's why: A national chain of restaurants has a quesadilla salad that registered 1,410 calories. That is very close to the intake recommended by the US Department of Agriculture. 2,000 calories, for a whole day.

Who knew that a salad could contain a caloric shock?

It is the same reason why the President of the 1990 signed the George Bush act, touching almost all the food items that are sold in the retailers. Before that, the labels were inconsistent and unclear.

The 2018 policy, despite the Obamacare connection, also came into effect under a Republican president. Trump Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said the rules are a "new framework that guarantees consumers have access to consistent scientific information."

Gottlieb pointed to a study by RAND Corp. that suggests "People choose menu items with fewer calories when they have access to caloric information and that information does not affect their satisfaction with the choice they make or their restaurant ratings."

Restaurants have already taken steps to decrease numbers. The Center for Science in the Public Interest said that the recipe for black bean soup from Panera Bread was altered and had a 42 percent decrease in calories, for example.

Clearly, people should be able to eat whatever they want. But they should also have access to information about what is being put into their bodies.

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