Philadelphia, April 1, 2010 – Today Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown marked the first day that the citywide menu labeling law goes into full effect. This legislation was sponsored by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown and passed by City Council in November of 2008. It mandates that all chain restaurants with 15 or more locations nationwide must provide nutritional information for all menu items. Starting in January of this year, caloric content was posted. Today, the requirement expanded to include sodium, trans- and saturated fats and carbohydrates. This information must be placed at tables or printed menus at sit-down restaurants.
“This new law not only helps Philadelphians track calories, but also provides them with other nutritional information about the foods they eat,” said Mayor Nutter. “While menu labeling is no magic bullet to fight obesity, consumers need to realize that their diet costs not only their pocketbook but their health too.”
“Information is power and when you provide nutritional information, irrespective of income level, parents and consumers who have access to menu labeling information, make different nutritional decisions,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown
As of 2008, 64% of adults and 57% of children in Philadelphia were overweight or obese. The number for childhood obesity jumps to nearly 70% in African-American and Hispanic communities. This menu labeling initiative is just one way that the City of Philadelphia is helping residents make healthier choices. Philadelphia received two awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – $10.4 million to decrease smoking and secondhand smoke exposure among city residents and $15.0 million to promote healthy nutrition and increased physical activity. The City also hopes to start charging a $0.02 per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages beginning in July 2011 to both deter consumption of unhealthy beverages and generate revenue for programs to promote healthy eating and physical activity.