Ortiz Welcomes NYC Menu Labeling Approval

NYC Regulations Based on Ortiz Legislation
May 7, 2008
Albany –Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, (Brooklyn), sponsor of the original state menu labeling legislation applauded the recent ruling in favor of NYC’s menu labeling plan. NYC’s revised regulations were based on Ortiz’s menu labeling legislation and he plans to use the Court decision to renew his efforts to get a State law passed. Now that every chain in NYC will be offering calorie information to consumers there is no reason why they can’t do the same for customers from Montauk to Buffalo.

Consumers want this information. A recent poll conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) found that 78% of Americans (up from 67% in 2003) support the concept of requiring that fast-food and other chain restaurants provide calorie and other nutrition labeling on menus and menu boards.

“Five years ago when I introduced the first legislation requiring nutrition information for food at chain restaurants, opponents said it would be impossible or that no one would want this to happen. My bill was opposed in the strongest terms. I am pleased that now we are seeing a number of cities that are moving forward with similar proposals. Not only NYC, but San Francisco and Seattle are also moving forward. Dozens of other cities, counties and States are considering proposals. I believe our efforts will result in menu labeling across the country in a manner that will benefit consumers and not burden restaurants. If we all work together I am confident that we can find a solution,” said Ortiz.

“Our efforts will benefit all of us, especially our children who are increasingly suffering from diabetes and other health problems caused by rising rates of obesity. Some people believe this generation of kids will be the first in history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Everyone needs to be part of the solution or we will all pay the consequences,” Ortiz continued.

It is Ortiz’ belief that restaurants do not intend to contribute to obesity. However, the trend toward more meals being eaten at restaurants means that we have to address this issue in the restaurant marketplace as well as the home. “Consumers already get nutrition labeling on foods they buy in the supermarkets to cook at home. They should also be provided with nutritional information when eating out, so they can make healthy choices,” said Ortiz.

“Food industry critics of the government’s efforts to fight the obesity problem claim that it is up to parents to choose healthier foods to eat. Restaurant nutrition information could empower parents, and children, to do a better job. The restaurants affected may be worried about the impact on their profits but they should also worry about the billions of dollars of Medicaid costs for obesity-related complications that raise their taxes and the health insurance costs of their employees. The NYC Health Commissioner believes that this measure could prevent 30,000 cases of diabetes. I look forward to children and families in my State benefiting from healthier choices when they eat out,” concluded Ortiz