FDA mandates over 200,000 restaurants to display calorie details on food

Whether they like it or not, all movie theaters and amusement parks and convenience stores as well as restaurants with over 20 branch chains in the US will now be mandated to list out full details of calorie counts in the food they serve to customers during their normal business hours.

As part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now request that all businesses that serve food and drinks to its customers display the calorie constituents of the food on its label – so long the business has up to 20 network branches or locations.

Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the commissioner for FDA states that “While no single action can fix the obesity problem, a step we’re taking today is an important one for public health.”

Some affected businesses protest their inclusion in the labeling requirement, stating that food service was only incidental to their main businesses, but Hamburg replies that “We tried to be flexible and realistic,” most especially as it relates to the inclusion of some businesses and not others.

For instance, food trucks, ice-cream trucks, and airlines that serve food on flights would not be required to display the calorie levels of their foods on labels; but takeout pizza, popcorn sold at a movie theater, hot dogs from a convenience store, and food items from salad bars will have their calorie counts displayed on their labels.

To support their plea that they should be excluded from the rule, grocery stores through the Food Marketing Institute stated that it would cost them about $1 billion to satisfy this calorie labeling injunction within the first year while they would have to be spending millions of dollars every year to do this – simply because their prepared food change very often and it is not possible to test all food items and create specialized labels.

Robert Rosado, the trade group’s director of government affairs states that “This is going to take away from anything that’s freshly made in the store because the costs involved will be so high. You’re going to lose fresh choices.”

The FDA defended its position by saying that consumers have a right to know the nutritional components of what they eat, and since one-third of Americans eat out, they must be helped to make informed choices over what they eat when they eat out.

McKinsey Report says the cost of obesity equals combined impact of violence, war and terrorism

This might appear to many as an overstatement, but the McKinsey Global Institute maintains that the cost of obesity is now $2 trillion every year, and this estimated figure equals the cost of smoking, or the combined impact of armed violence, war, and terrorism.

The report says global economies spend as much as $2 annually to combat the effects of obesity, and they spend as much to contain the evils of smoking or execute war campaigns.

The McKinsey report states that 2.1 billion out of the 7 billion people on earth suffer from obesity, and this figure actually represents 30% of the global population. These are people who are either obese or overweight, and they run the risks of associated diseases like cardiovascular infections, diabetes, hypertension, strokes, and so on.

According to the report, about half of the world’s adult population will become overweight or obese by the year 2030 unless of course they check the trend, and this calls for quick action on the part of individuals and governments so as to cut down on associated deaths and cost of medical care.

McKinsey notes that there is no simple solution or single way to deal with the global problem of obesity or being overweight, but then a general consensus on what to do might help solve the problem. The institute affirms that the report should galvanize action in this regard, and it should be the starting point for all governments and individuals on how to deal with obesity and the associated impacts on individual lives, government medical facilities, and national or global economies.