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Albany County passes calorie labeling law

Minority Leader Christine Benedict, R-Colonie, said Tuesday, (Aug. 11) that she voted against the law because she thought government was interfering too much with residents' lives.

"I just had heard enough. How much government involvement do we want in everybody's lives around here?" she said.

Benedict was undecided when The Spotlight talked to her Monday afternoon. On one side, she strongly believed the county had bigger issues to worry about other than calories on a menu, she said. On the other side, she, herself, would like to know the calories in what she is eating to help her be more health-conscious.

In the end, after seeing how many people worried about the calorie law and not other laws on the legislature's agenda, Benedict said she decided to vote against the law because she did not feel that laws like this were what the legislators are elected to work on.

"Were not elected to make restaurants put calories on menus," she said. "What are we elected for? To fight the crime on fat? I don't think so."

Richard Mendick, R,C-Selkirk, said he was in favor of the law, but said that he wanted to see a little bit more.

"I think the bill is a good one when you're providing information so that consumers can make informed choices," he said. "It's defunct in that it only covers the calorie counts."

Mendick said he would have liked to see the bill require restaurants to not only list the calories on the menus, but also the amount of sodium, fats, carbohydrates and other nutritional information as well.

"You need all of those pieces of information," he said.

Nichols, the sponsor of the law, said he has not ruled out working on laws in the future that would cover more than just the calories, but for now, the best way to help the growing obesity problem is through calories.

"The single most important information is the calorie information," Nichols said.

Nichols also said that the state is looking into adopting similar legislation. If the state does enact a law that requires labeling of calories and other nutritional information, that law would cover the county law.

For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the Wednesday, Aug. 12 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.

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