Figuring Out How Many Calories Are in Your Burrito

burritoAs if the Affordable Care Act wasn’t controversial enough, a lesser-known provision of the law has critics warning of regulatory zeal. Section 4205  of the ACA (in case you haven’t read that far) requires restaurants to post calorie counts for the meals they sell, a requirement critics claim will be costly to comply with, while being of little benefit to consumers who will not know how to use this information.
Critics are especially concerned about the law’s requirement that restaurants post calorie ranges for foods that are customizable – foods like pizza and burritos, where the number of calories varies depending on the ingredients. A large cheese pizza, for instance, has far fewer calories than a large sausage, pepperoni and onion pizza with, of course, extra cheese. Two U.S. congresswomen, Cathy Rogers and Loretta Sanchez, contend that the “ranges can be so wide – conceivably as much as 2,000 calories in the case of a pizza – that they are useless in providing consumers with useful information.”
Fortunately, the FDA has not published final rules on menu labeling yet. So it has time to address critics’ concerns. Our new research has identified a simple tweak that the FDA should consider, one that makes it far easier for consumers to understand calorie ranges…
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