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Albany County Legislature passes calorie labeling law

Legislators weigh in

Prior to the meeting, The Spotlight had the chance to catch up with a few county legislators to see what they had to say about the law that would require chain restaurants to post their calories for consumers to see. While a few were on the fence before the legislature's meeting, by the time the law was voted on, it saw overwhelming support.

On Monday, Aug. 10, County Legislator Thomas J. Cotrofeld, D-Delmar, said he had received a lot of feedback from his constituents about the law, and that he had planned to vote in favor of it.

Cotrofeld said he did see resemblances between the bill and the trans fat ban the county passed last month, which required all restaurants and bakeries to use less than 0.5 grams of trans fat in their products. When he first saw the calorie labeling bill he wondered, "Is government carrying this a bit too far?" he said.

"I felt that when it penalized small local independent bakeries, I thought that maybe we should have reconsidered slightly and done some modification there," he said.

But what Cotrofeld did like about the calorie labeling bill was that it did not force anyone to use or not use a product, and instead, allowed them to make an informed decision about what they put into their bodies.

"It's about having instantly available enough details to make an informed decision," he said, adding that he hopes this inspires not only people to make healthier choices, but restaurants to offer healthier choices as well.

County Legislator Carl Zeilman, R-Colonie, said he had no problem with the law because it has mirrored other laws, and he thinks some restaurants are already labeling the calories in their items.

"I think a lot of businesses are already in the practice of putting calories on food labels," he said.

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