(AFP) – Apr 28, 2008
NEW YORK (AFP) — New York restaurant owners Monday vowed to fight a new rule requiring that they post the calorie contents of their meals, the latest government effort to help ever-portlier customers watch their weight.
In a saga that has stretched out over nearly two years, the measure adopted by the city health department was to come into effect on April 1, but was postponed until the 25th.
High-volume chains such as Starbucks have already begun posting the calorie contents of foods and drinks, with fines scheduled to be levied on June 6 with non-compliers, while some are holding out hope the notion will disappear altogether.
The New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA), representing owners of the city's food establishments, said it would appeal the rule at a hearing Tuesday.
NYSRA lawyer Nancy Milburn is seeking relief against the Board of Health and the Commissioner under the first amendment to the constitution, which guarantees free speech and expression, and the supremacy clause which calls the constitution the "supreme Law of the Land."
The NYSRA represents 7,000 restaurateurs in New York state and 3,000 in New York City.
"This case is going to last for months. The appeal will be heard months from now, tomorrow the judge will just decide the stay," said Kate O'Brien Ahlers, communications director for the New York City Law Department.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken a vested interest in the calorie-count regulations, after previously raising taxes on cigarettes in a bid to improve the air quality and health of New Yorkers.
"We have to tell people how to lead better lives," Bloomberg told reporters in September.
In 2004, medical studies showed that 21.7 percent of the population of New York was obese -- a 70 percent spike in 10 years.
Major fast food chains represent more than a third of all meals served in the city.
On average, meals served at chains like McDonald's, Domino's Pizza and Chipotle exceed by 300 calories -- or sometimes double -- the 750 calories per meal recommended by nutritionists, studies have shown.
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