Multnomah County Commissioners voted today 5-0 in favor of a food labeling law
that will require some restaurants and coffee shops operating in the county to display calorie counts on menus or sign boards beside each regular menu item, including beverages.
The new law
applies to those restaurants and coffee shops with 15 or more stores nationwide such as Starbucks, Pizza Schmizza, McMenamins, Burgerville and McDonald's.
Alejandro Queral, the American Heart Association's director of governmental affairs, says the AHA has been supporting policies nationally and in Oregon that give consumers the ability to make informed decisions at the point of purchase.
“Naturally we agree with this new policy," Queral tells WWire. "This gives our members the ability to choose healthy options when dining out.”
Most restaurateurs who testified today were in favor of including the calorie counts.
But one who raised at least some concerns was Chris Hein. Representing the Old Spaghetti Factory, Hein wondered if calorie charts would change his patrons' eating habits. And he said the new rule would add to his costs now that he must create different menus for Multnomah County; Washington's King County, which has a similar labeling requirement; and everywhere else the Old Spaghetti Factory operates.
The compliance deadline in Multnomah County for the new calorie labeling rule is the end of 2009.