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New Laws On Calorie Display

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Calorie count in food items will be more common under a new law to take effect next year. The implementing rules of the measure were released Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the guidance of food vendors, restaurants and small eateries affected.

Under the new measure, food companies with at least 20 outlets, and those with 50 percent of their establishment’s floor area dedicated to serving food, will have to comply with the directive.

Vending machines are also covered by the new law.

An estimated 278,600 establishments will be affected by the new rules according to the FDA. The health agency added that each food outlet will have to incur an added cost of $1,000 on average for complying with the calorie count guidelines.

But many establishments such as hotels, movie theatres, airplanes and amusement parks are exempted because serving food is not their main business.

The Obama administration is pushing for calorie count across more food services as part of a larger campaign for Americans to adopt a healthy diet.

Other notable exemptions are alcoholic drinks like beer and wine. For now, bars and restaurants will not be required to display calorie counts on these products.

The rules said that calorie count displays must be “clear and conspicuous” with colors that are “at least as conspicuous as” the menu listing. In addition, food outlets need to have more detailed nutritional information on hand for every food item sold in case a customer requests for them.

The rules will not take effect until next year. In the meantime, the FDA is gathering feedback from the food industry about the order to display calorie counts.

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