New York restaurateurs sues city over calorie counts

By Xinhua 

New York : Some restaurant owners in New York are fighting the city government over a new rule that makes it mandatory to list calories on their menu boards, local media reported Saturday.

Support TwoCircles

    The New York State Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday trying to get a judge to abandon the regulation, the NY1 television station reported.

    Under the rule, due to come into force on July 1, calories counts must appear in the same type size as the food item and price.

    The rule applies only to restaurants that have standardized recipes and that have made nutrition information publicly available on the Internet, printed brochures or other methods as of March 2007. That's about 10 percent of the restaurants in New York, the New York Times reported earlier.

    The rule is aimed to help prevent obesity and the diseases that go along with it.

    The restaurant association argues that the regulation violates its members' First Amendment rights, and that it unfairly punishes those who have been trying to make nutrition facts available.

    The association also stresses the impracticality of nutrition labeling at restaurants.

    "A consumer buying a sandwich with five items or toppings (such as bread, meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato) can order it 120 different ways," the association said on its website. "Someone presented with 15 items for a sub or sandwich can order it 1.3 trillion ways making accurate nutrition labeling virtually impossible for restaurants."

    "While a manufacturing plant can be precise, a restaurant is different because it relies on individual employees to prepare the food. The human factor could cause the nutritional information to be inaccurate, defeating the purpose and increasing liability," it said.