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New Law Requires Calorie Counts Posted At Chain Restaurants

Starting with the New Year, restaurant chains in California will have to post calorie count information on their menus.

Beginning next month restaurants with 20 or more locations in California will have to post calorie information on their menus. The requirement is part of a two-year-old law targeting obesity.

A Big Mac has 540 calories. A kid’s meal with Chicken McNuggets, small fries and chocolate milk has almost 600 calories. That’s nearly half the recommended calories in a whole days meals for a child.

McDonald’s already posts nutritional information for all its menu items on its website, but the numbers will soon be shown next to photos of those big juicy burgers in the restaurants. Daniel Conway with the California Restaurant Association said nutritional information can help people make healthier decisions. But, he said, it’s only part of the solution in fighting obesity.

“Providing information doesn’t necessarily dictate people’s behavior," Conway said. "I’ve heard from some people that if it’s their birthday or their anniversary or something they don’t care how many calories are on whatever they’re eating.”

Restaurants that don’t comply can be fined between $50 and $500. But Conway said enforcement of the law will be rolled out slowly over the next six months.

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