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Calorie Bill on Congress' Menu

WASHINGTON -- Proposed legislation before Congress would require restaurants with 20 or more locations to post the calories of food items on their menus, menu boards or in a place where customers could easily see it, according to a report by the West Virginia State-Journal. The proposal, called the LEAN Act, or Labeling Education and Nutrition, is similar to a bill that failed to pass in the state earlier this year.

Sen. Dan Foster, a sponsor of the state bill, told the paper he was pleased with the LEAN Act, and noted it is based on a regulation already in place in New York.

"The level (of restaurants) is high enough for most public health experts to feel it will make a big difference," he said.

House Health and Human Resources Chairman Don Perdue, a Democrat from the state, told the paper he was generally pleased with the LEAN Act. He does have concerns, though, over the ability for consumers to understand calorie content.

"If it becomes too complex in what a consumer can see, then the message may get buried in the verbiage," he said. "I want to make sure the message will be clear to consumers."

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