Obamacare Rules for Calorie Counts Take Effect

President Donald Trump has decided to allow one of Obamacare’s rules to remain. On Monday, the rule requiring chain restaurants to post their calorie counts went into effect.

The rules are amongst the last parts of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 to be implemented and require that restaurants list the calories of all their menus and their menu boards. The restaurants must also provide addition information related to nutrition such as sodium and fat levels.

The law, which is intended to push Americans toward eating healthier, applies to just chains that have 20 stores or more.

It will not be only the fast-food and sit-down spots being affected. Convenience stores, grocers, pizza delivery businesses and vending machines must be in compliance with new requirements requiring the display of calories.

Menu labeling improves the public health said Commissioner Scott Gottlieb of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during an interview last week. He cited studies that show enlightened customers will order, on average, as many as 50 fewer calories daily.

While that equates to the calorie count of one small cookie, the FDA commissioner said the impact compounded during months can give large benefits.

Seeking to end the concerns of retailers, the FDA decided to delay implementing of the rules on several occasions so that the food industry could have time to comply after the menu labeling law was finalized in 2013.

The provisions have been supported by the National Restaurant Association as well as consumer advocates. The National Restaurant Association wanted to avoid the need to make multiple changes in requirements by cities as well as states.

However, some groups in the food industry as well as retailers say they do not have every answer and worry the new rules would place undue burdens on store owners.

Even as the new provision took effect, the FDA made an announcement that over the next year officials are seeking to educate the food industry about meeting the rules, rather than going out and enforcing them.

Several restaurant chains that included Burger King, McDonald’s, Panera Bread and Taco Bell have listed their calorie information for several years, but some, including the Melting Pot and Legal Sea Food, have not added the new information yet.

A spokesperson for Domino’s Pizza said the company was concerned about how franchisees would meet the new requirements but is sure that the new changes would bring about a price increase for consumers.