(AFP) – Apr 29, 2008
NEW YORK (AFP) — A court ordered fast food restaurants in New York City Tuesday to start publishing the calorie content of their meals, after the eateries lost an appeal to have the anti-obesity measure suspended.
The Manhattan district appeal court rejected their call for more time to fight the constitutionality of the order, although it did delay the date at which restaurants could be fined for non-compliance from June 6 until July 18.
Earlier, lawyers for the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) had put their case for a delay, while city health officials argued the order was a crucial tool in fighting obesity and should be introduced immediately.
The three judges were divided on the issue and at first agreed to a temporary suspension. However, hours later, they ruled the order -- which had already been delayed several times -- should come into effect immediately.
The order applies to fast food chains that have more than 15 restaurants nationwide, including MacDonald's, Domino's pizzas and TGI Friday.
Certain firms, including Starbucks cafes, had already begun posting the calorie content of their meals on their packaging, but others were reluctant, including McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts.
They and other opponents of the order are being represented by the NYSRA, which has 3,000 members in New York City and 7,000 in the rest of the state.
Tuesday's ruling does not mean the end of the affair, as the restauranteurs will keep fighting the rule and their appeals could drag on for months.
They are seeking relief from the order under the first amendment to the US constitution, which guarantees free speech and expression, and the clause which establishes the constitution's supremacy over local laws.
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