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.