A 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel has upheld the requirement for restaurants to post calories on menus. The federal appeals court last week claimed that New York City’s regulation "mandates a simple factual disclosure of caloric information and is reasonably related to New York City's goals of combating obesity."
The court finding rejected arguments that the city had violated the First Amendment by imposing its view on restaurant customers that calories are the most important consideration on a menu.
To support its finding, the court said that consumers often are unable to assess how many calories food contains. New York City is believed to have been the first U.S. city to require that calories be posted on menus. California and Philadelphia have passed similar bills.
Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden said most chain restaurants are already enforcing the rule. The city's rule covers restaurants that are part of chains with at least 15 outlets.
"Consumers are learning more about the food before they order, and the market for healthier alternatives is growing," said Frieden. "We applaud the court for its decision, and we thank the restaurant industry for living by the rules. New Yorkers will be healthier for it." Rick Sampson, president of the New York State Restaurant Association, said the group may appeal. It represents 7,000 restaurants.