Calorie count laws

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Calorie count laws are a type of law that require restaurants (typically only larger restaurant chains) to post food energy and nutritional information on the food served on menus.[1]

Studies of consumer behavior have shown that for some fast-food chains consumers reduce calorie consumption but at other chains do not.[2] In response to federal regulation in the United States, some restaurant chains have modified certain items to reduce calories, or introduced new menu items as lower-calorie alternatives.[3]

United States[edit]

The first U.S. menu item calorie labeling law was enacted in 2008 in New York City.[4] California was the first state to enact a calorie count law, which occurred in 2009.[5] Restaurants that do not comply can be fined up to $2,000.[6]

Other localities and states have passed similar laws.[7]

Nutrition labeling requirements of the Affordable Care Act were signed into federal law in 2010, but implementation was delayed by the FDA several times until they went into effect on May 7, 2018.[8]

Legal challenges[edit]

In 2009, a federal appellate court rejected the New York State Restaurant Association’s challenge to the city’s 2007 regulation requiring most major fast-food and chain restaurants to prominently display calorie information on their menus. The rule applies to restaurants that are part of chains with at least 15 establishments doing business nationally.[9]


  1. ^ "NYC calorie-count rule effective immediately: court". New York: Reuters. Apr 30, 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  2. ^ "Study: menu calorie counts don't impact choices for McDonald's eaters - Health & wellness". The Boston Globe. 2013-07-22. Retrieved 2014-06-21.
  3. ^ FDA Delays Calorie Labeling Rule Until Next Year
  4. ^ Rabin, Roni Caryn (July 16, 2008). "New Yorkers try to swallow calorie sticker shock". MSNBC. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  5. ^ McGreevy, Pat (30 September 2008). "State to require calorie counts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  6. ^ "The Requirement to Post Calorie Counts on Menus In New York City Food Service Establishments (Section 81.50 of the NewYork City Health Code)" (PDF). The Official Website of the City of New York. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-10. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  7. ^ "Menu Labeling". Center for Science in the Public Interest. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  8. ^ Affordable Care Act's calorie count rules go into effect
  9. ^ Chan, Sewell (2009-02-17). "Court upholds city's nutritional menu board rule". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-20.