Thanks to a slight delay, U.S. restaurant owners will have an extra five months to add calorie counts to their menus before the May 5, 2017 federal deadline.
This national calorie count disclosure is a part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 – commonly known by the shorthand Obamacare. The hope is it’ll help consumers make an informed decision when eating out, especially since Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home.
The law will require restaurant chains with 20 locations or more to post calories on menus and menu boards. This will also apply to vending machine operators above the same 20-unit threshold.
Originally, the deadline for the calorie counts was Dec. 1, but was bumped to May 5.
“I’m hopeful that the date will stick,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Lobbyists for Domino’s Pizza Inc., as well as various supermarkets and convenience stores all worked together to delay the Dec. 1 doomsday as far back as possible. The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation aimed at the weakening rule in February.
The White House responded with public opposition to the House’s bill, saying it “would undercut the objective of providing clear, consistent calorie information to consumers.”
Solving the American obesity epidemic has been the calling card of the White House and first lady Michelle Obama.