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Bob Moon: In a couple of weeks, customers at New York City fast food chains will find something a little different on the menu: calorie counts displayed in type that’s as large as a menu item. It’s all part of a new rule from the city’s Board of Health that takes effect July 1. It’s intended to make New Yorkers healthier, but not everyone’s convinced the law will have the desired effect. Marketplace’s Alisa Roth tells us about a lawsuit the city’s facing.
Alisa Roth: The new rule applies to any restaurant with a standardized menu that was already providing calorie counts to its customers. In practice that means mostly fast food outlets, or about 10 percent of the city’s eateries.
The New York State Restaurant Association is filing suit against the city, arguing that the rule will unfairly punish those places, which were already trying to keep the public informed.
Rick Sampson heads the association. He says it will be just too expensive to comply, because every time a menu changes, the restaurant will have to pay for an analysis of the new dish.
And he worries that the rule will eventually be expanded to include all eating establishments in the city.
Rick Sampson: To have your food analyzed, you’re talking about $600 for each menu item that you have. You have some restaurants out there with 120, 130 different menu items.
New York says it just wants restaurants to make it easier to find information that’s already publicly available. The city has until the end of the week to respond to the lawsuit.
The two sides go to court late next week.
In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.
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