A fast food burger (Photo: Getty/Paul J. Richards)
Ontario's governing Liberal Party says it wants to fight obesity by enacting a law that will require large chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus and menu boards. Health Minister Deb Matthews announced the plan today at a press conference in a Toronto fast food restaurant.
"I don’t think there is any question that people’s choices will be impacted by the inclusion of calories on the menu board. I think we sometimes trick ourselves into thinking we are making a healthy choice when we are not,” she said.
The proposed legislation will also include provisions aimed at reducing the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children. Matthews said the government is going to start on consultations for the planned law immediately.
The provincial New Democrats have been pushing for chain restaurants to post nutritional information on menus for some time, the Toronto Star reports. In the past few years, they have introduced three private members' bills to force restaurants to post nutrition information. The Ontario Medical Association and Toronto Public Health have also suggested the addition of calorie counts to menus.
If Ontario goes ahead with the law, it will be following in the footsteps of Quebec — where rules restricting advertising food to children have been in place since April 30, 1980 — and New York City, which has required calorie counts on menus since 2008.