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Mass. Becomes Latest State to Adopt Menu-Labeling Regulations

BOSTON -- Following the path of other states, the Massachusetts Public Health Council this week approved new menu-labeling regulations requiring restaurant chains with 20 or more in-state stores to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards, including those stationed at drive-thru areas, according to a report by the Boston Herald.

The new regulations will go into effect Nov. 1, 2010, and will affect approximately 50 restaurant chains, or a total of 5,800 units, the newspaper reported.

More than 30 states, cities or countries have enacted or are considering menu-labeling legislation. Among the states are: California, Oklahoma, Indiana, Florida, Oregon, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, New York and South Carolina.

Maryland lawmakers decided to abandon their push for a statewide bill in late March, and Tennessee lawmakers decided last week that the issue needed more study before any action could be taken, according to recent news reports.

New York City last year became the first city to enforce a calorie-posting rule at chain restaurants with 15 or more locations. Since then, Westchester County in New York, King County in Washington and Philadelphia also have enacted similar regulations.

Federal lawmakers also are considering the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act, or LEAN Act, a measure that would mandate the posting of nutritional information at chain restaurants with 20 or more outlets. It would also provide liability protection to restaurants that comply with the law.

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