Menu Calorie Count Bill Passes Senate

03/19/10 7:04AM By Bob Kinzel

(Host) Menus at fast food and chain restaurants will look very different under a bill passed by the Vermont Senate. Backers of the proposal hope it will encourage Vermonters to be more aware of the caloric value of the foods they eat.

Under the bill, these restaurants will have to list how many calories each item has and the information will be posted next to the specific item on the menu.

Rutland senator Kevin Mullin says the bill is needed to help confront the rising obesity crisis facing the state:

(Mullin) "The obesity epidemic also exerts an enormous economic burden. Between 1987 and 2001 the rising obesity rate and related medical conditions accounted for more than one quarter that's one fourth of the total growth in health care spending in the United States in addition the lost productivity costs attributed to obesity have been estimated to be even greater than health care costs."

(Host) Mullin says consumer education is one of many strategies that will be needed to reduce obesity in the coming years:

(Mullin) "It is clear that success in reversing the epidemic will require a broad range of interventions operating at multiple levels and involving multiple segments of society this bill uses just one strategy to reduce the obesity epidemic by providing caloric information on restaurant menus and menus boards at fast food and full service chain restaurants."

(Host) The legislation applies only to companies that operate at least 20 restaurants throughout the country, and would not affect smaller family restaurants and diners in Vermont.

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