NEW YORK CITY -- Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on May 22 that all New York City chain food retailers, including convenience and grocery stores offering prepared foods, will be required to post calorie counts on menu boards. Chain restaurants and retailers also will be required to have full nutritional information -- not just calories -- for standard menu items available onsite, and they will have to post a statement about the daily recommended caloric intake of 2,000 calories. This rule applies to chain restaurants with 15 locations or more nationwide, affecting some 3,000 restaurants and 1,500 food retailer chains.
In 2008, the Big Apple became the first jurisdiction to require calorie labeling for chain restaurants, setting a precedent followed by other cities and states. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act required that menus label calories, making it a national requirement. In 2015, the city updated its health code to include menu boards, but delayed implementation in anticipation of an identical federal rule. When the federal government announced earlier this month that it would delay enforcement for a year, New York City decided to enforce the health code as intended.
"We are all tempted to make unhealthy choices, but with these new, common-sense rules, New Yorkers will have the information to make better choices and lead healthier lives," the mayor said. "We can no longer wait for federal action, and urge other cities to follow our lead."
Starting May 22, the Departments of Health and Consumer Affairs will begin enforcing the updated calorie labeling rules by educating businesses during regular inspections. On Aug. 21, both agencies will begin issuing notices of violation subject to fines ranging from $200 to $600 for not following the updated rule.
The calorie-labeling rule complements the Health Department's sodium warning rule, which requires restaurants to place salt shaker icons next to menu items that contain 2,300mg. of sodium or more, the daily recommended limit. The sodium warning rule also states that these restaurants must post a warning where customers place their orders that high sodium intake can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke.
In April, the city's health department announced the end of its legal battle with the National Restaurant Association over the sodium-warning rule. As of May 12, nearly nine out of 10 New York City chain restaurants were in compliance.
Click here for more information on New York City's calorie-labeling requirements.