So the governor, amid his vetoing of state legislation (including a badly needed fee on shipping containers that I hope to have the chance to write about) allowed a chain restaurant nutritional labeling bill by state reps. Padilla and Mignon to become law. By 2011, chains with 20 or more locations in CA will have to provide nutritional labeling on menus.
Schwarzenegger announced his support for the bill at a ‘news conference outside of a Chili’s restaurant.’ Amused by the image of the governor @ Chilis – what must have been a reunion of market-tested blandness in the fields of achievement in motion pictures, politics and food, I looked up nutritional info on Chili’s website (where, one assumes, it will continue to lurk until dragged out into the light of day in 2011). Though I’m not a dietitian, a few words of advise: if you order the Texas Cheese Fries w/ Jalapeño-Ranch Dressing as a starter, the Smokehouse Bacon Triple-The-Cheese Big Mouth Burger®
w/ a side of Jalapeño-Ranch Dressing as an entree, a slice of Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie® w/ Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert and wash it down with water (cause they don’t provide data on their drinks), you’ll be engulfing 5,710 calories in one sitting.
Flippancy aside, giving people information on what they’re ordering an restaurants is a good step forward to influencing people’s dietary choices. Combined with changes to the physical food retail environment – making sure there are healthy food stores and restaurants where people live, especially low income areas, so folks have real choice not the illusory choice of one fast food brand vs. another; improving nutrition education and school food so kids are growing up tasting healthier options; and boosting income so everyone can afford fresh, healthy food, hopefully menues with nutritional info will help people think about what they’re eating.
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