US restaurants commit to nationwide nutritional info scheme

Posted by Editorial on 9th January 2009

The Coalition for Responsible Nutrition Information (CRNI*) has launched a campaign to pass national legislation that will provide consumers across America with detailed nutrition information in chain restaurants and other food service establishments using a uniform standard. The National Restaurant Association (NRA), which represents the 380,000 member restaurant establishments, is supporting the scheme.

Gen Y dining

“People are always looking for help to make better choices especially at the beginning of a new year. We know that is what consumers want and we want to provide them with that information,” said Sheila Weiss, registered dietitian and director of nutrition policy at the National Restaurant Association. “That is why we are working to bring more nutrition information to more people across the country when they dine out.”

The ‘LEAN Act’ will provide consumers with a broad range of nutrition information including sodium, trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins as well as calories to help them make decisions that are conducive to their lifestyles. In addition, the information will be provided in writing in the restaurant that corresponds with their individual dining experience such as brochures, posters, in-store computer kiosks, and menus.

“Combined with behavioral changes and increased education, the detailed nutrition information the LEAN Act offers will help consumers throughout the nation keep their New Year’s Resolutions to become healthier in 2009,” said Lisa Katic, a registered dietitian and active in many health professional associations including The American Dietetic Association.

America has seen a number of new legislative changes and proposals impacting on the restaurant industry in recent years as the country seeks to combat obesity. Among the changes have been bans on new fast food restaurants in specified regions, the phase out of trans fats and calorie counts on menus in New York City and the state of California.

* The Coalition for Responsible Nutrition Information is a broad based coalition of restaurants, industry organizations and companies that believe a uniform national nutrition standard for chain food service establishments will give consumers access to detailed nutrition information that meets their needs.