According to the Wellness blog at Time magazine, the Food and Drug Administration is drafting new regulations that will require all restaurants with 20 or more locations nationwide to add calorie counts to their menus. They'll also have to provide more detailed nutrition information on request.
The feds are currently asking for feedback from businesses. They've also said they won't enforce the new rules immediately, in order to give restaurants time to comply.
Interestingly, the Wellness blog reports that the new rules will not apply to short-term menu items that are offered less than 60 days a year. Otherwise, restaurants would be forced to change their menus constantly. But it does make me wonder -- is McDonalds busy planning 6 distinct versions of the Big Mac right now?
One thing's for sure -- regulations like this can really get some people's hackles up. Just check out the comments at the Wellness blog: "These fascists won't be satisfied until the last fast food restaurant is driven from the face of the earth," one individual says, "at which time they'll have to find some other product or pursuit that makes us happy to wring the joy out of." He goes on to say that since we don't have to pay for overweight people's food bills, we should just "live and let live."
But we do have to pay for their medical bills. If you carry health insurance, you're paying for the obesity epidemic indirectly -- one premium at a time.
So what do you think? Is this an overreach, or is it a reasonable way to keep the public informed? Leave a comment below and let me know where you stand.