Micro-managing McDonalds – Obamacare’s hidden restaurant laws

March 29, 2010 04:53

Another ObamaCare mandate we had to discover after its passage

ED Morissey via Hot Air

Nancy Pelosi told the public that we’d have to pass ObamaCare to find out all of the surprises Democrats had loaded into it.  Since its passage, we’ve discovered a number of them, including the elimination of a tax credit that kept seniors on private medication coverage that has forced publicly-held corporations like AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere, and Verizon to take massive charges against this year’s earnings.  Earlier this week, the Associated Press discovered a new mandate, this time on chain restaurants, that is at once petty, paternalistic, and anti-growth:

A requirement tucked into the nation’s massive health care bill will make calorie counts impossible for thousands of restaurants to hide and difficult for consumers to ignore. More than 200,000 fast food and other chain restaurants will have to include calorie counts on menus, menu boards and even drive-throughs.

The new law, which applies to any restaurant with 20 or more locations, directs the Food and Drug Administration to create a new national standard for menu labeling, superseding a growing number of state and city laws. President Barack Obama was expected to sign the health care legislation Tuesday.

The idea is to make sure that customers process the calorie information as they are ordering. Many restaurants currently post nutritional information in a hallway, on a hamburger wrapper or on their Web site. The new law will make calories immediately available for most items.

“The nutrition information is right on the menu or menu board next to the name of the menu item, rather than in a pamphlet or in tiny print on a poster, so that consumers can see it when they are making ordering decisions,” says Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, who wrote the provision.

What’s wrong with getting calorie counts?  Nothing, really.  As a Type II diabetic myself, it helps to know calories and carbs when planning meals or medication responses.  A friend of mine, Col. Joe Repya, gave me a handy wallet-sized card shortly after my diagnosis that allows me to estimate carbs and calories while at home or away, and plenty of other resources exist for the same purpose, many of them on the Internet.


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