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During a news conference in the Statehouse, Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, speaks about how the Governor

After Nearly Five-Year Delay, Looks Forward to Implementation in New Jersey

TRENTON Senate Health Chairman Joseph F. Vitale (D-Middlesex) today applauded action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requiring that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations. The requirement is part of the federal Affordable Care Act and intended to provide consumers with more nutritional information about the food they eat. Senator Vitale was the sponsor of legislation signed into law in January 2010 to require chain restaurants in the GardenState to post calorie information on their menus. The Christie Administration delayed writing the regulations and enforcing the law, and waited until federal guidelines were established.

Under the federal rule finalized yesterday, restaurants and retail food establishments will have one year to comply with the menu labeling requirements. The rule also includes certain alcoholic beverages served in covered food establishments and listed on the menu. A second rule requires that within two years certain vending machine operators also disclose calorie information for their products.

“New Jersey has had a law on the books for nearly five years requiring calorie information to be posted for the public on menus or menu boards. Now we have the opportunity to move forward with the law’s requirements. Consumers have a right to know the calorie content of the food they are eating, just like we do with other products that we purchase every day in the grocery store.

 “I applaud the FDA for taking action on this important issue and I look forward to the implementation of menu labeling in New Jersey. Obesity is an epidemic, and we should give people the information they need to make the best health choices possible. Making healthy eating decisions includes knowing the calorie content of the food we are consuming.”