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Movie Theaters Must Post Calories for Snacks

Coming soon to a theater near you… mandatory calorie counts on the items you buy at their concession stands. Not only are those snacks overpriced, they have gargantuan calorie counts. Some of us may be aware of this fact, but when the numbers are staring you in the face, it may finally hit everyone how much those snacks are really costing us!

According to the Wall Street Journal, as part of the health-care reform enacted in March, the FDA will require not just movie theaters, but convenience stores and airplanes, among other places, to fully disclose calorie counts for foods that they provide in order to help consumers make wiser decisions about the foods they eat.

The reaction has been fairly predictable, in that nutrition advocates have largely voiced support for the measures, and food industry types are opposed:

“People don’t go to movie theaters for the primary purpose of eating,” said Gary Klein, a vice president for a group that represents theater owners. “Why aren’t ballparks covered? You think the food served at ballparks is healthy?”

About 20 cities and states have enacted local ordinances that require menus have caloric information posted since New York City made the first move in 2008.

Not all food industry people have been opposed.

“Everybody’s going to be a little bit better informed, and that’s a good thing,” said Lou Sheetz, executive vice president of Sheetz Inc., a convenience store chain with 380 outlets in six states.

So far, the results of the new guidelines have been mixed, but there is evidence that California has gotten a little slimmer since adopting new restrictions on vending machine snacks in schools.

Do calorie counts on menus influence the choices you make?

(via: Wall Street Journal, image: Eden Pictures)

September 7th, 2010

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