Menu Labeling at Fast-Food and Other ChainsSmart Menus, Smart Choices
Center for Science in the Public Interest

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Barbie Takes On Menu Labeling

In March 2010, Congress passed a national law requiring chain restaurants with 20 or more outlets to list calories and other nutrition information on menus and menu boards. The FDA has proposed menu labeling regulations, which should be final in 2012. You should start seeing nutrition information in most chain restaurants soon.

Americans eat out more than ever before; eating out provides one-third of the calories in American’s diets. And, studies link eating out with obesity. Without clear, easy-to-use nutrition information at the point of ordering, it’s difficult to make informed and healthy choices.

States and localities can support menu labeling and enhance its effectiveness by conducting campaigns and education programs to encourage healthy eating at restaurants and the use of the available nutrition information.

Also, menu labeling at chain restaurants is a good start, but cities and states could expand access to nutrition information to more restaurants. A good next step is to provide menu labeling on state or local property, such as in cafeterias in government office buildings, publically funded hospitals, state universities, road-side rest stops, and state park concessions.

For help implementing a menu labeling policy in your area or for more information, contact us at:

Subway and other chains have added calorie information to their menu boards in New York City. See menus with nutrition information.

Subway menu board
Photo of menu board inside a New York City Subway restaurant, 2008.