McDonald’s just announced that starting next week calorie counts and nutritional detail will be placed on its inside and drive-through menus at more than 14,000 U.S. locations.
Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obama’s new healthcare reform law) requires restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations to list calorie-content information for standard menu items on restaurant menus and menu boards, including drive-through menu boards.
Other nutrient information such as total calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, sugars, fiber and total protein, would have to be made available in writing upon request.
The act also requires vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines to disclose calorie content for certain items.
As The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working on proposed rules, some restaurants such as Panera Bread, Au Bon Pain and Subway have been proactive and already make this information available.
Last year, California began requiring restaurants with 20 or more locations to put calorie counts on the menus.
McDonald’s in California has therefore, already been providing calorie information on its menus. Credit should be given to McDonald's for not waiting for The U.S. Food and Drug Administration final rules to change menus throughout the country.
Labeling is a great first step; Now McDonald's needs to address the issue of aggressively marketing junk food, not only to children, but also to the nation as a whole.
I would love to see some proposed legislation regulating the marketing of junk food. If history is a guide, just even the threat of legislation and the debates that surround it is often times enough for corporations to act more socially responsible.