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County considers calorie counting on chain menus

Newsflash! You can eat whatever you want and not get fat.

As long as you stay in a certain calorie limit.

The Albany County Legislature Health Committee will consider moving proposed Local Law B for 2009, a law that would force chain restaurants in the county to post the amount of calories in each item on their menus, menu boards and drive thru menus, to a vote in August at a meeting on Wednesday, July 29.

The law was introduced by Tim Nichols, D-Latham, who said he got the idea for the law from other local laws that ask chains to post calorie counts on their menus.

In essence, the law is designed to present the public with accurate information about menu options, encouraging them to make healthier decisions when dining at a chain.

Nichols said the law would be somewhat difficult to enforce for a non-chain restaurant, as portion sizes and menu options are constantly changing at a non-chain restaurant.

I think it would be impractical to apply this type of law to an independent small business, Nichols said. "Unlike the business model used by chain restaurants in which consistency counts, they cater to the individual and they cook to order. The portion sizes aren't always the same, and their menus aren't always the same."

Nichols said this law is not meant to deter people from eating fast food, rather show them the healthier side of chain restaurants.

If passed, the restaurants will be monitored by the county health department to ensure they are posting the calories.

For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the Wednesday, Aug. 5 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.

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