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L.A. considers calorie counts on menus

September 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles City Council will again consider Wednesday a plan requiring large chain restaurants to put nutritional information on printed menus and menu boards. A council committee approved the plan last week.

The ordinance would apply to chains that have 20 or more restaurants in the city of Los Angeles. It would require that the restaurants post the ingredients and calories for menu items.

"Sometimes we think things are healthier than they are. I love being able to read that nutritional information in making the right choices. And this just empowers people. It does not dictate anything," said Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles City Council.

The city council voted 14 to 0 in favor of having the City Attorney's office write up the ordinance. The process should take the City Attorney's office about one month.

However, some are criticizing the move toward having a "nanny state" of government.

"Absolutely not. What we are doing is providing people with information and let them make the choice. And that happens to us all the time. We are told all the time about what is good for us and what is bad for us, and let people make the choice," said Jose Huizar, Los Angeles City Council.

Most of the people Eyewitness News spoke to during lunch on Wednesday said having the nutritional information could help them make smarter decisions.

"I guess I kind of already know that a hamburger and fries is not healthy and I still eat it. But, if it was highlighted for me every time I went to order, I guess I would cut back a little bit more," said John Wicker, who supports the plan.

"It makes a difference," said Virginia Solomon, who also supports the plan. "It makes a difference. There are things I thought were better for me than they were and I don't eat them anymore."

A Restaurant Association spokesman says the group is not against the idea of posting calorie counts on menus, but wants there to be uniform standards statewide to avoid confusion.

Lawmakers in Sacramento are considering regulations for the entire state.

If the bill is signed, it would go into effect next July.

 

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