ADA supports national restaurant menu labeling legislation

September 8, 2010

The government's role in improving the nation's nutrition is now firmly established with nutritional labeling for restaurant meals now mandated across the United States as part of HR 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. An article in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association explains how state and municipal labeling laws developed and how the new national law will supersede these and replace them with a uniform standard. It also addresses the American Dietetic Association's (ADA's) involvement and how these new regulations will impact registered dietitians (RDs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs) as well as consumers.

With enactment of the new law and detailed regulations to be issued by the , restaurants and food vendors with 20 or more outlets will be required to post calories on menus, menu boards (including drive-through) and food display tags, with additional nutrient information (fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sodium, protein, and fiber) available in writing upon request. Calorie posting requirements will also apply to managed by companies that operate at least 20 machines.

This new legislation will ensure that restaurant diners are provided with tools to make informed, healthful choices regarding the foods they consume outside the home. The article provides insights into how this law may work, including recommendations for how RDs may play a critical part in a successful implementation of this national standard.

"ADA members are poised to become leaders in the push to offer information on more-healthful items at restaurants, to analyze and revise the nutrient information required of standard menu items, and to provide quality assurance that the posted information is accurate, as well as the likely future need of clients in understanding how to use this nutrient information in determining their daily dietary needs and making the most of what the law intends," commented an ADA Policy Initiatives and Advocacy staff member.

Jeanne Blankenship, MS, RD, CLE, ADA's vice president of Policy Initiatives and Advocacy, shared her thoughts regarding the first impact of the legislation that a majority of ADA members would notice, and how it might impact their practice plans: "Members may begin to see clients and patients who have seen the information on restaurant menus, but don't know how to use the information to make healthier choices. This is an opportunity for registered dietitians (RDs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs), to help consumers as they struggle to achieve a healthy lifestyle. In states that have already adopted menu labeling, RDs and DTRs have already incorporated key messages into delivering nutrition education."

Explore further: Full disclosure: People will make healthier choices if restaurants provide nutritional data

More information: The article is "A National Approach to Restaurant Menu Labeling: The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, Section 4205" by Karen Stein, MFA. It appears in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 110, Issue 9 (September 2010).

Related Stories

US law to make calorie counts hard to ignore

March 23, 2010

(AP) -- A requirement tucked into the massive U.S health care bill will make calorie counts impossible for thousands of restaurants to hide and difficult for consumers to ignore. More than 200,000 fast food and other chain ...

Schools, communities share responsibility for child nutrition

August 9, 2010

The American Dietetic Association has published an updated position paper on local support for nutrition integrity in schools that calls on schools and communities to work together to provide healthful and affordable meals ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.