This is a controversial issue. Should restaurants (in particular, fast food chains) be required by law to provide calorie and other nutrition information menus?
Eating out is an activity many people enjoy on a semi-regular basis. While some regard it is a treat, more and more people in the find themselves eating out.
The problem with this is that with different portion sizes, ingredients, and cooking methods, it quickly becomes very difficult to accurately estimate the nutritional content of what you are eating. This often leads you to consume more calories, fat, salt and carbohydrates than you may realise (shooting any diet you are on right out of the water).
There is already a voluntary menu labelling scheme in operation. Some big fast food chains now include pamphlets (either on the counter or on request) detailing the nutritional content of their fare. Others make this information available on their website.
However, there are many more restaurants that do neither.
The arguments for and against compulsory labelling are well rehearsed. Restaurants will argue that being “in your face” about the calorie content of the dishes on their menus is not what eating out is about. Others (especially smaller restaurants) will point to the increased burden of having to provide nutritional information for their meals, especially since there will be variations in the exact nutritional content of the same dish prepared by a different chef.
However, this is to ignore the fundamental problem: people are simply not getting the information they need to make the right choices. Restaurants and fast food chains are always going to oppose a compulsory scheme, especially when the change that needs to be implemented may make their customers realise that their favourite dishes are, in reality, heart-cloggers. But isn’t that missing the point? If something is a heart-clogger, why not tell people? If that Cobb salad has more calories than the burger, why not let your customers know? Isn’t the point that customers are entitled to have full and accurate information about what they are purchasing (and, in this case, putting into their bodies)?
For the time being, a voluntary scheme is perhaps the best option while public opinion is properly gauged. However, the time will come when a decision has to be made. As a consumer, you are entitled to know what you are eating. Just like the waiter or the chef should be able to tell you exactly which ingredients are in your meal, surely they should also know how many calories, fat and salt you are about to consume?
This is a controversial issue. Should restaurants (in particular, fast food chains) be required by law to provide calorie and other nutrition information menus? Eating out is an activity many... more