National Calorie Labeling Requirements in Health Bill

March 25, 2010

The New York Times reported yesterday:

Buried deep in the health care legislation that President Obama signed on Tuesday is a new requirement that will affect any American who walks into a McDonald's, Starbucks or Burger King. Every big restaurant chain in the nation will now be required to put calorie information on their menus and drive-through signs.

One argument for taxes on high-calorie food—like snacks or soda—is people do not appreciate how unhealthy those foods are. (Although I write here, taxation does not solve this problem.) But now that people will have this veil of fatty ignorance lifted—and realize that Big Macs are bad for you—there is little reason to tax the stuff, right? Probably not. For one, there is a still other fallacious arguments to be made for fat taxes like obesity's social cost and time-inconsistency of consumers. And most of all, states are still looking for money.

While the article mentions that New York passed similar legislation a while back, it fails to mention that not only did it barely have an effect on the amount of calories New Yorkers consume, but the effect went in the wrong way.

And as a side-note, the restaurant industry supports this provision.

Related Articles