Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.): A number of cities, counties and states across the nation have imposed or explored bans and labels in the name of public health. New York City imposed an all-out ban on trans fats in restaurant-prepared food. California will require chain restaurants to list calorie information on menus by 2011. Two major cities in Minnesota may be joining them.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are preparing ordinances to ban chain restaurants and other dining outlets from using trans fats as well as to require calorie counts on menus and menu boards. The proposals could go to the two city councils next month.
At the state level, a Minnesota state House committee will hold a hearing on menu labeling this week.
In related news, The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Utah health officials expect the concept of menu labeling to be debated as part of this year's update of Utah's anti-obesity plan. Salt Lake County is expected to launch a voluntary menu-labeling effort, mirroring Colorado's Smart Meal Seal program.
That program authorizes the seal for meals of at least two servings of beans, whole grains or vegetables, with 700 calories or less, and no more than 30 percent of fat. About 200 locations participate. Sales of Smart Meal items have increased, while sales of side orders like fries and cookies have dropped, an analysis found.