In a direct response to the Board of Health rule requiring calorie counts on menus and menu boards, the Wendy's International, Inc., has decided to stop posting calorie information on its in-store nutritional posters. The story carried this evening on Bloomberg News makes Wendy's upsetness with the Board of Health crystal clear: "We were forced into this position by the Board of Health because of their regulation, which we find too onerous to comply with," said Denny Lynch the spokesman for the corporation.
Still the Wendy's decision, one that leaves the online calorie information with a "not for New York City" disclaimer, is not clear in terms of the compliance terms of the Board's regulation since it has kept its web information intact. The reaction of Health Commissioner Frieden was lamely predictable: "We wonder what they're so ashamed of."
This underscores the invidious nature of the Frieden-inspired action. If Wendy's, which has provided all kinds of nutritional information to its customers for decades, must be "ashamed," then where does that put the thousands of other restaurants that have never provided any health data?
We certainly would love to see just how many calories a meal at Ruth Chris' or Le Cirque would pile up, including the rich deserts and the wine and liquor. Does it not matter with the fine dinning establishments because they cater to the wealthy? Is it the poor and the ignorant alone, you know those misguided souls who are force to eat in these "low-life" outlets that Dr. Frieden feels he is here to "save?"
This is the same haughtiness that we saw, dripping with contempt, in the Times editorial last Tuesday; the one that said how the fast food meals were of"minimal nutritional value." God save us from all of this elitist paternalism (more stories will be forthcoming in tomorrow's papers).