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Written by Ivania Garcia

Coffee Shop

You want to know how many calories were in that late-night pizza you had over the weekend? Now you must wait. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a delay on requiring restaurants to post calorie counts on their menu boards.

The rule, originally proposed by the Affordable Care Act in 2010, was set to go into effect on May 5, 2017. The FDA recently announced a new deadline of May 7, 2018 for all businesses that sell food with over 20 locations to begin posting calorie counts. These rules, which took the FDA took more than four years to write, were originally set for 2015, but were pushed back to 2016 and again to 2017. Every grocery store, cafeteria, convenience store and movie theatre that serves hot food would have to comply to this rule.

“As required by statute, FDA’s final rule for nutrition labeling in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments will provide consumers with clear and consistent nutrition information in a direct and accessible manner for the foods they eat and buy for their families. Posting calories on menus and menu boards and providing other nutrient information in writing in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments will fill a critical information gap and help consumers make informed and healthful dietary choices.” - Food & Drug Administration

Domino’s Pizza and its formed trade group, American Pizza Community, have argued these regulations for years because it wouldn’t make sense for pizza shops to post calorie counts on menus when majority of the business comes in from outside the store.

Those against the menu labeling have asked the Trump administration to postpone the rule and to pass a bill called the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act which would remove such regulations. The bill would allow for different serving sizes and let the companies that do most of their business online to post calorie counts on their website.

There have been many healthcare advocates in favor of this rule. If someone were to purchase a flavored coffee or a pastry, they might want to be informed of the calorie intake of the purchase. If a customer saw how much was in a cheeseburger, they might begin to question whether to continue visiting the establishment.

Even with customers second guessing their food choices, many large chains such as McDonald’s and Jimmy John’s have already begun displaying calorie counts on menu boards. For some, menu boards can cost anywhere between $500 to $2,000 depending on the size of the business, and not many have the luxury to do so like the larger chains. Luckily, the FDA has opened up to recommendations on how they can better the regulations and provide calorie counts outside of menu boards.

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