N.Y.C. health board renews fight on calorie info

by Eric Schroeder
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NEW YORK — The New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (D.O.H.M.H.) on Wednesday reintroduced a regulation that would require fast-food restaurants to display calorie information on menus and menu boards. The move comes a little more than a month after U.S. District Judge Richard J. Howell struck down a similar measure, ruling it conflicted with federal regulations.

According to the D.O.H.M.H., the new regulation would apply only to New York City chain restaurants that have 15 or more outlets nationwide, with menus and menu items that are standardized for content and portion size.

The rule, which would apply to approximately 10% of New York City’s 23,000 restaurants, is scheduled for a public hearing on Nov. 27, with the D.O.H.M.H. set to vote on the measure in January 2008. If adopted, the regulation would take effect on March 31, 2008.

Although Judge Howell struck down the earlier regulation pertaining to posting calorie information, he said at the time that it would not be pre-empted if it applied to all chain restaurants with more than a certain number of outlets.

The New York State Restaurant Association, which filed suit against the original measure, said it has not decided whether to do so with the D.O.H.M.H.’s most recent regulation.

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