Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett announced announced that the City will being enforcing updated calorie labeling rules today. The new requirements are aligned with the FDA’s calorie labeling ruling which also went into effect after years of delay. Chain restaurants, as well as chain convenience stores and grocery stores offering prepared foods are required to post calorie counts on menu boards and a statement informing customers of the recommended dietary intake for adults of 2,000 calories a day. These establishments must also offer additional nutritional information upon request. The rule is required for chains with 15 locations or more nationwide, affecting about 3,300 restaurants and about 1,500 convenience stores and grocery stores in New York City. Establishments that do not comply will be issued notices of violation subject to fines ranging from $200 to $600. The FDA’s calorie labeling regulations have been repeatedly delayed since the law was included as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Last year, the City tried to move forward with implementing the new requirements, but the Health Department was sued by a group of trade organizations representing convenience stores and restaurants.
“About one third of the total calories consumed by Americans come from foods prepared outside the home – clearly, knowing how many calories are in the foods you buy has never been more important,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Over the past decade, New Yorkers have grown accustomed to having the information they need to make informed food choices when eating out, and we look forward to expanding New Yorkers’ access to basic information about their food.”
“Access to information is a critical part of consumer protection. By being informed consumers, New Yorkers and the millions of visitors to our City can take charge of their health,” said Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “These new rules will build on the wealth of information available to the public and continue to help both New Yorkers and tourists make sound decisions for themselves and their families.”
“Ensuring individuals are fully aware of their daily caloric intake will assist them in making better health choices today that will have tremendous benefits in their overall health for years to come.”
“I commend Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett on today’s announcement to provide vital nutritional information on a number of foods sold throughout stores across New York City,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “Ensuring individuals are fully aware of their daily caloric intake will assist them in making better health choices today that will have tremendous benefits in their overall health for years to come.”
“Consumers will be able to make better food choices with more calorie and ingredient information,” aid Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz. “I welcome this new program and urge all restaurants to follow New York City’s example and let the public order and eat what’s best for them.”
“We must make every effort to ensure consumers have the information they need to make decisions,” said NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal. “As an advocate for healthy eating and locally grown produce – especially in low-income neighborhoods prone to food deserts – I support this move, which will promote nutrition and reduce disease.”
New Yorkers will now have increased access to vital nutrition information in chain convenience stores, grocery stores and restaurants as a result of the updated calorie labeling rule, including:
- Calorie information for prepared foods sold in chain convenience stores and grocery stores, i.e. pre-made sandwiches, ready-to-eat pizza, hot and cold food bars, and meal combos.
- Additional nutrition information including: total calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugar, and protein.
- A new statement on menus and menu boards at all chain restaurants, convenience stores and grocery stores that gives more information about calorie needs. The statement reads, “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.”
New York City led the nation in 2008 by becoming the first jurisdiction to require calorie labeling in chain restaurants. An estimated one million New Yorkers see calorie information daily. In 2010, calorie labeling requirements became a part of the Affordable Care Act but were not implemented. Since 2015, New York City’s efforts to enforce its updated and expanded calorie labeling rule has been delayed due to two federal government delays and the industry’s lawsuit.
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The new calorie labeling rule is complemented by the Health Department’s 2015 sodium warning rule, which requires chain restaurants to place salt shaker icons next to menu items containing 2,300 mg of sodium or more, the daily recommended limit. The sodium warning rule also requires these restaurants to post a warning statement where customers place their orders stating that high sodium intake can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Poor diet increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers, which are among New York City’s leading causes of death.
New Yorkers can also compare restaurant nutrition information on MenuStat.org, a free resource provided by the New York City Health Department with nutrition data from top national chain restaurants. For more, visit menustat.org.
For more information on calorie labeling requirements, visit nyc.gov/health/foodservice.