Albany County in New York has joined the growing list of jurisdictions requiring chain restaurants to post calorie content for all menu items.
County executive Michael G. Breslin signed Wednesday a law requiring that restaurant operators with 15 or more locations nationwide disclose calorie counts on menus, menu boards and at drive-thrus.
The County Health Department will be responsible for enforcing the law, which will go into effect in six months.
The law, known as Local Law B, was introduced by Tim Nichols, D-Latham, earlier this year. It was passed by the County Legislature on Aug. 10.
“I am pleased to sign Local Law B, which will help customers make healthier choices when they go out to eat,” Breslin said in a statement. “I applaud County Legislator Tim Nichols for introducing this critical legislation and all our County Legislators for their efforts to improve the quality of life in Albany County. Our County Health Department will be reaching out to all chain restaurants in the coming months to assist them in complying with this legislation.”
Several other New York counties already have in place menu-labeling mandates, including Westchester, Suffolk and Ulster. And New York City was the first city nationwide to require menu labeling.
Nationally, California, Oregon and Connecticut are among states that have passed menu-labeling laws, as have Philadelphia; Nashville, Tenn.; and Washington’s King County, which includes Seattle; and Oregon’s Multnomah County, which includes Portland.
“The enactment of this local law places Albany County once again at the forefront of effective public health initiatives that will ultimately lead to better health outcomes, lower health care costs and lives saved,” Nichols said in a statement.
A federal menu-labeling bill also is under consideration in Congress. That proposal, intended to pre-empt the growing patchwork of laws and create a uniform national labeling standard, is under fire from several chains operators that would like to see it broadened to include more restaurants, convenience stores and supermarkets.
Read more: Nation’s Restaurant News