Restaurants may be forced to post nutrition info

By Bay City News Service

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously moved forward to a second reading of an ordinance that would require all chain food-service establishments in unincorporated parts of the county to post nutrition information.

The legislation, introduced by Supervisors Rose Jacobs Gibson and Jerry Hill, would affect chain food-service establishments that have at least 15 outlets throughout the state. The ordinance only affect restaurants in unincorporated areas of the county -- not in incorporated cities and towns.

Its purpose, the supervisors said, is to combat epidemics of obesity and other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular, diabetes and hypertension.

"This is an opportunity for people to understand what they're eating, to make conscious and educated food choices in the future,'' Mr. Hill said.

The ordinance would affect approximately 30 restaurants and some grocery and convenience stores that sell food for consumption on-site, according to Ms. Jacobs Gibson and Mr. Hill.

The establishments would be required to post nutritional information that includes total number of calories, and sodium and fat content of items on the menu. The ordinance, which requires two readings to be adopted, will go before the full board again in September.

If approved, the ordinance would go into effect Jan. 1, 2009, Mr. Hill said. The legislation was modeled on ordinances recently adopted in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties. Those ordinances face legal challenges from the California Restaurant Association.


Posted by Gov't attacks businesses again, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 15, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Let the supervisors pay to gather and post this information out of their own pockets. For small operators, its ridiculous. And what happens when you change the menu, which could happen quite frequently? Another inspection and confirmation of how much protein, fat, etc. The effort to create a big, expensive, nanny government continues... It's not looking good for the future of California unless the public wakes up. We're already one of the most business unfriendly states in the union --- and adding expensive and unnecessary regulations doesn't make it any easier... A sad day for San Mateo County and a great day for the dumb lemmings...

Posted by A Consumers Right-to-Know, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 16, 2008 at 12:22 pm

"The legislation would affect chain food-service establishments that have at least 15 outlets throughout the state."

Not exactly the "small guys" being affected here - this is targeted at the McDonalds of the world that make "conveyor-belt" food (and, come to think of it, most of it has the nutritional value of a conveyor belt!).

Your position is one of keeping consumers in the dark - thanks, but no thanks!

This a "consumers right-to-know" law and, as such, I congratulate the Sups for passing it - one day, it will be the law of the land, I'm sure (except in Texas, perhaps, home to people who like to be kept in the dark, just like their former governor and our current albatross, GWB).

Posted by Anna, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 18, 2008 at 10:15 am

Bravo to the supervisors. If our national "leaders" won't address the health crisis resulting from the fast food industry's phony food, we need to act locally and set the ball in motion. Let 'er roll.

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