U.S. House bill could force fast food restaurants to post nutrition facts

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Toledo Democrat Marcy Kaptur says people ought to know the facts when they order food. There is a bill in the House to require some fast food chains to put caloric information on menus and menu boards. Kaptur has signed on as a co-sponsor.

“We should make it easy for the American people to know what they are consuming, what the caloric content is,” Kaptur said.

The bill also makes restaurants post how much fat and sodium is in the food. Chains with 20 or more locations would have to comply. Supporters say high caloric food is adding to obesity. Almost one third of all adults in Ohio are obese.

Critics say menu labeling alone won’t curb the problem. They say exercise also needs to be taken into account. Columbus Republican Patrick Tiberi said portion control is important too.

“I think the way to curb obesity is for people to eat less. That’s the bottom line. We have a problem in America with people who eat too much and don’t exercise as much as they should,” Tiberi said.

Some fast food chains, like Dublin-based Wendy’s already put out calorie information on their websites. Opponents say redesigning menus and menu boards will be a financial burden.

Youngstown Democrat Tim Ryan doesn’t buy it.

“Well I think McDonald’s is doing quite fine. They are every where and they are making money. I think it would be a very small change to make to inform their consumers,” Ryan said.

Restaurant industry lobbyists handed over 7 million dollars to lawmakers in the last 10 years to vote against menu labeling. A similar labeling proposal failed before in Congress – but with Democrats in control supporters say the chance of getting it through this time may be better.

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