Matheson bill requires restaurants to post calorie counts

Matheson bill requires restaurants to post calorie counts

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A Utah congressman is introducing legislation to help consumers know how many calories they're eating when they dine out.

Rep. Jim Matheson acknowledges obesity is a problem in America. He says adults eat out on average five times a week. So he's introducing the "LEAN," or Labeling Education and Nutrition Act.

The legislation requires chains of 20 or more restaurants and grocery stores to post calorie counts of all prepared foods in a place where customers can easily see it. The restaurants also would have to disclose 11 other nutritional values.

This could get expensive for smaller chains and "mom and pop" establishments, so they would be exempt.

At least 20 states have enacted laws about nutritional labeling. Matheson tells the House that's part of the problem. He claims all the state and local laws have created a mish-mash of standards. He says his proposal should lessen the burden on the industry.

Early reaction appears to be mixed, but two major industry groups support the bill. The National Restaurant Association and the Coalition for Responsible Nutrition Information both say the bill makes sense.


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