Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More Calorie Questions

It is becoming increasing obvious that the DOH has been negligent in its decison to require certain restaurants to post calorie information on its menus and menu boards. The clarity is provided by a 2005 study commissioned by the USDA. The study is an "economic assessment" of the impact of menu labeling.

What does the study show? It shows that there is great uncertainty as to whether the labeling would have the beneficial dietary impact that supporters of the measure envision. As the report points out, "Would providing additional nutritional information in a restaurant setting lead to better overall dietary quality and reduced caloric intake? Recent research on this subject suggests a limited impact"(emphasis added).

How, then, is the DOH able to say that the regulation is "supported by leading experts," when clearly, at the very best, the evaluation of the labeling proposal is mixed. If this is so, and the Department basically snuck the labeling rule under the trans fat radar, than by what public policy rationale can it advance a regulation that will cost local businesses millions of compliance dollars?