FDA today finalizes new regulations on menu and vending machine - KOAM TV 7

FDA today finalizes new regulations on menu and vending machine calorie labeling

The Food and Drug Administration today finalized new rules on menu and vending machine calorie labeling.

Some chain restaurants in the Four States have already begun to comply with the regulations.

Janelle Sitton-Coats sometimes takes her daughter out for an after school treat at Orange Leaf.

In the past few weeks, she has noticed the addition of nutrition labels for the frozen yogurt.

"I think everybody should be aware of the calorie count, the protein and the carbs in what you're eating," Sitton-Coats said.

Manager Lanette Smith says the labels were added proactively, since the new regulation gives businesses one year to add calorie counts to all menus.

"I think it's good for the truth to be there, for people to know and to at least have the option," Smith said.

The new rules also require those who operate 20 or more vending machines to provide calorie labeling on each item within the next two years.

"It makes them have a better, informed choice, that they can choose lower calorie items," said Heather Boline, Clinical Dietitian, Freeman Health System.

Boline says the average person needs between 1,500 and 2,000 calories a day.

"Some people may or may not decide to use the calories as a reference when making choices, but overall I think it's a good thing for restaurants to offer," Boline said.

While customers may choose smaller quantities as a result, Smith believes the transparency will benefit her business overall.

"It is possible that people will choose a lesser amount of money, or choose not to come back as regularly, but honestly, I think being more up front makes you feel more trustworthy," Smith said. "People will appreciate what you're doing and also appreciate your product a lot more."

And for many, it will lead to a healthier lifestyle.

"500 calories less every day or every week, can make a big difference over a year," Boline said.

"I'm very glad that the businesses are going to be putting labels on everything," Sitton-Coats said.

The FDA rules are required as part of the Affordable Care Act and also apply to movie theaters.
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