Californias Menu Labeling Bill Passes Penultimate Hurdle

California’s Menu Labeling Bill Passes Penultimate Hurdle

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today Californians moved a step closer to being able to make healthy dining choices when the State Assembly Appropriations Committee passed SB 120 (Padilla). The legislation, which would require fast food and chain restaurants to provide basic nutrition information on menus and menu boards, now goes to the full Assembly for a final vote.

“Californians are now just a vote away from wining the right to have basic nutrition information easily available when they eat out,” said bill co-sponsor Dr. Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. Goldstein calls SB 120 a vital tool to help address the state’s growing obesity epidemic.

The legislation, which won Senate approval in May, is expected to be heard by the full Assembly before September 11. If passed and signed by the Governor, California would become the first state in the nation to provide menu labeling rights to its citizens.

SB 120 requires chain restaurants and fast food outlets to provide nutritional information on standard menu items. Specifically, the bill requires the number of calories to be posted on menu boards. Printed menus would provide the amount of calories, grams of saturated fat plus transfat, sodium and carbohydrates.

The challenge to understand chain restaurant menus was highlighted earlier this year when a statewide Field Research Corporation poll was released showing that only 10 percent of Californians could pick the healthiest item from a short list of common fast foods. Restaurants and fast-food outlets are a key concern because Americans consume about one-third of their calories at these establishments.

CCPHA is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization leading efforts in California to understand and address the state’s growing obesity crisis. The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and California Optometric Association are also sponsors of the bill. For more information on this legislation, visit the CCPHA site at: www.publichealthadvocacy.org