FDA Supports Efforts to Block Calorie Count Law in New York City

William Neuman reported yesterday at New York Times Online that, “The Food and Drug Administration has filed court papers in support of an effort to overturn a New York City law requiring calorie counts to be posted by certain establishments — at least the second time the Trump administration has inserted itself into a local case.”

The Times article noted that, “The most recent case involves a lawsuit filed in July by a group of trade organizations representing restaurants and convenience stores; the suit challenges a city law, which went into effect in May, that requires certain establishments to provide calorie counts and other nutritional information about menu items and other prepared food.

“The plaintiffs have asked a judge to grant an injunction to keep the city from enforcing the law, which it plans to start doing on Monday. A federal judge will hold a hearing in the case in Manhattan on Wednesday.

“The fight dates to efforts by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to promote healthier eating and combat obesity, including the city’s original menu-labeling law that went into effect in 2008 and mandated that chain restaurants post calorie counts.”

Mr. Neuman added that, “The new law, like the federal rules, expanded the original New York legislation to include chain grocery stores and convenience stores that sell prepared foods like hot dogs, sandwiches or some salad bar items. It also required restaurants and stores that are covered by the law to provide additional nutritional information about prepared foods, including nutrient contents and ingredients, and to post a statement about the daily recommended dietary intake of 2,000 calories.

“Many chain outlets are already in compliance with the law, and most if not all had continued to provide calorie counts for menu items required by the original New York City law.

“But in the lawsuit, the group of trade organizations argued that the federal law pre-empted the city labeling law, and so the city was barred from carrying it out.”

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