New York City is the first in the nation to require chain food retailers and restaurants to post calorie counts and full nutritional information
Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that all New York City chain food retailers offering prepared foods, or “restaurant-type foods,” will be required to post calorie counts on menu boards. In addition, chain restaurants and retailers will be required to have full nutritional information – not just calories – for standard menu items available on site, and they will have to post a statement about the daily recommended caloric intake of 2,000 calories. This rule is required for all chain restaurants with 15 locations or more nationwide, affecting approximately 3,000 restaurants and about 1,500 food retailer chains.
Starting , the Departments of Health and Consumer Affairs will begin enforcing the updated calorie labeling rules by educating businesses during regular inspections. On , both agencies will begin issuing notices of violation subject to fines for not following the updated rule. Chain restaurants and food retailers that are not in compliance will be subject to fines ranging from $200 to $600.
“We are all tempted to make unhealthy choices, but with these new, common-sense rules, New Yorkers will have the information to make better choices and lead healthier lives,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We can no longer wait for federal action, and urge other cities to follow our lead.”
“This Administration continues to be at the forefront of public health practice, and these new rules demonstrate our ongoing commitment to promoting and protecting the health of New Yorkers, “said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.“These new rules give busy people quick facts they can use to make healthier choices when picking up prepared meals for themselves and their families.”
“Calorie labeling makes it easier for New Yorkers to learn more about the food they are consuming,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “New York City led the way on requiring calorie labeling in chain restaurants nearly 10 years ago, and we are proud to continue this work by ensuring New Yorkers can access this important information at other types of establishments.”
“Who hasn’t grabbed a prepared meal when you’re out running errands?” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “It is just as important for us to be able to know how many calories are in one of those meals as the ones in a pre-packaged snack or meal at a chain restaurant so we can better take care of ourselves. We are proud to join the Health Department in taking a national lead in enforcing this law as part our patrol inspections of chain food service establishments, like convenience and grocery stores.”
In 2008, New York City led the nation by becoming the first jurisdiction to require calorie labeling in chain restaurants. Numerous cities, counties and states followed suit, and in 2010 calorie labeling requirements became a part of the Affordable Care Act.
In 2015, New York City updated its longstanding Health Code rule requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information for menu items, but delayed enforcement in anticipation of an identical federal rule that would make calorie information available in chain restaurants and chain food retailers nationwide. Earlier this month, the federal government announced it would delay enforcement of these rules for a year, and the City has decided to enforce its updated calorie labeling rules as planned.
New Yorkers can look forward to several improvements in chain convenience stores, grocery stores and restaurants as a result of the updated calorie labeling rule, including:
· Calorie information about prepared foods sold in chain convenience stores and grocery stores.
· A new statement on menus and menu boards at all chain restaurants, chain convenience stores and grocery stores to give more information about calorie needs. The statement reads, “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.”
· Additional nutrition information about menu items available onsite upon request, including total calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugar, and protein.
The calorie labeling rule complements the Health Department’s sodium warning rule, which requires restaurants to place salt shaker icons next to menu items that contain 2,300 mg of sodium or more, the daily recommended limit. The sodium warning rule also states that these restaurants must post a warning where customers place their orders that high sodium intake can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke. In April 2017, the Health Department announced the end of its legal battle with the National Restaurant Association over the sodium warning rule. As of May 12, 2017, nearly 9 out of 10 NYC chain restaurants were in compliance with the sodium warning rule.
New Yorkers can also find health information for restaurant menu items on MenuStat.org, a Health Department website with nutrition data from over 150 top national restaurants. For more, visit menustat.org.
For more information on calorie labeling requirements, visit nyc.gov/health/foodservice.