US orders calorie labeling for fast-food

WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday announced sweeping new rules forcing chain restaurants and pizza parlors to publish calorie counts on menus in an attempt to combat the nation´s obesity epidemic.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said chain restaurants and vending machines with 20 or more locations would be required to provide customers with full nutritional information about the food being sold.

Similar rules have already been used for years in several US states and cities, such as California and New York.

“Americans eat and drink one third of their calories away from home and people today expect clear information about the products they consume,” FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement.

“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.”

Under the new rules, restaurants will be required to publish calorie information for all standards prominently on menus and menu boards. Temporary menu items and specials are exempt from the requirements.

The menu labeling rule also includes food facilities at venues such as movie theaters and amusement parks.

Establishments affected will also have to provide upon request detailed nutritional information for food items such as total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugar and protein.

The finalization of the new rules was required under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.