Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson
Congratulations to the New York City Board of Health, Health Commissioner Tom Frieden and Mayor Michael Bloomberg for adopting these bold new measures to promote the public’s health. When New York City's major chain restaurants comply with these sensible new regulations, I hope they make the changes nationwide.
After all, several major chains have already forsaken the artificial trans fat found in partially hydrogenated oils, particularly for deep-frying. And a brief stroll through the supermarket should convince doubters that manufacturers of processed foods and bakery items have been successful getting trans fats out of those items as well. If trans-fat labeling in the supermarket was the beginning of the end of trans fat, New York's move today is the middle of the end of trans fat.
The calorie-labeling regulation approved by the board today will be of enormous help to weight-conscious New Yorkers. Many of the big chains already have this information, but many of them only put it on web sites or brochures. There is no practical reason why chains can't include calories right next to the price of the item on menus and menu boards. Most of the industry's arguments against calorie labeling are simply red herrings. The regulations will not apply to daily specials and non-standardized items. Calorie labeling will put consumers back in the driver's seat and let them exercise personal responsibility for themselves and their children.
CSPI will be encouraging other cities and states, as well as Congress, to ensure that the rest of the country receives the same kind of protection from trans fat and information about calories as New Yorkers will soon have.