60 Minutes Tackles The Menu Labeling Controversy

60 minutes aired a lengthy report last night on the menu labeling controversy, and all the usual suspects were in attendance.

Regular readers will be familiar with all the twists and turns in the report, but its worth watching if only to see Wendy’s try to convince Lesley Stahl that putting calories on menu boards is impossible and that the chain isn’t worried about sales dropping.

Also included in the report is an interview with Brian Wansink, a nutrition and marketing professor at Cornell University and author of Mindless Eating. If you’re at all interested in the ways that food marketing manipulates you, you should check out Brian’s research at Cornell’s food and brand lab. One of the best parts of the report is the look on one customer’s face when Wansink tells him the Subway combo he thought had 300 calories really has 1300.

Wansink then asked another consumer who had chosen the same combo:

“Well, let’s say for instance that we would have had the calories listed on the menu when you ordered something like that. Would that influence what you ordered?” Wansink asked a man.

“Absolutely. I don’t think I would have gotten it. I mean, 1,350 calories for a Subway,” the man replied.

Expert: Many Underestimate Calories [60 Minutes]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. JKinNYC says:

    Was John Stossel on there saying something like “It’s all your fault, fatty fatty mcfatty fat”?

  2. burgundyyears says:

    I’m dubious. Stating how one’s behavior would have been different after-the-fact (I would have done X instead of Y if only provided warning label Z) are common in litigation claims re: warning labels but research generally shows that slapping on a new label onto something doesn’t reliably change someone’s behavior (although the person involved and casual observers frequently think it will change behavior).

    Also, at a place like subway, where everything is made to order with a vast array and combination of condiments, I can’t help but wonder if someone still thinks they’ll be getting their 300 calorie sub after loading it with mayonnaise and cheese.

  3. JKinNYC says:

    @burgundyyears: You really overestimate the power of denial in the common American consumer.

  4. Hamm Beerger says:

    I don’t think you CAN overestimate the power of denial.

  5. ironchef says:

    The American consumer has no self control

    Proof:
    [edition.cnn.com]

  6. char says:

    That piece was pretty terrible, with all sorts of he said she said journalsim. The piece with the menu page was pretty atrocious. He through up a blatant straw man (that calorie counting would force them to list out every possible combination on the menu), and the reporter either bought it, or feigned shock.

    The law itself is kind of nitpicky, but full disclosure, in a viewable location is good by me.

  7. He says:

    Saw most of it last night. The best parts of the story were:
    1) when an industry guy (I think it was a Wendy’s rep) showed a sample menu with calorie counts for every possible way anybody could order every possible combo. It was ridiculously crowded and Leslie Stahl didn’t think fast enough to shoot down how stupid they would have to be to list every combination of drink, sandwich, and side item instead of listing the calorie counts for drinks, sandwiches, and side items individually.

    2) when a Subway rep went with Leslie Stahl to subway to order a sandwich and they couldn’t find the calorie count for adding mayo to your sandwich. It was in a brochure the subway guy had instead of anywhere obvious.

  8. Shinobuu says:

    Mayo is evil, simple enough. Cheese can be very fatty too so when you add one and one together, it can turn out to be extreme. Make sensible choices before you purchase. A smart consumer knows how to research before purchasing.

  9. bnb614 says:

    I saw the 60 Minutes and I disagree with the man who said we need labeling on menus. Grown adults have the right to make decisions, even bad decisions. The Nanny state can’t take care of everyone and make them behave the way they want.

    I think the guy from Wendy’s was dead-on when he said they are punishing companies that made the information available. Fast food companies went to the effort to get detailed calorie and nutrition information for its products and have made brochures, wall posters, and posted the data online. So if you want to find out nutritional data, you can find the data. WHen was the last time you went into a fast food restaurant and a person went up and ordered and said, “hold on, I need to check the nutrition info.” Give me a break, it is fast food, not a raw vegetable platter.

    But that doesn’t go far enough for food police and so they want to force the fast food companies to put the data up on the menu.

    Who would be exempt from the law? Non-fast food restaurants like mom and pop eateries, etc, because it would be too costly for them to compile the data. So the fast food companies are being punished for being proactive.

    I want to see the food police go after all restaurants if they think this data is important. Make mom and pop restaurants, pizza joints, chinese food restaurants, etc fork over the $$ to do the research and be forced to post it. Then when tons of businesses go out of business and people lose their jobs, the nanny state will reach the ultimate goal they want. Less choice.

  10. bnb614 says:

    I agree Shinobuu, mayo is evil. I am nowhere near picture perfect health, but I never eat mayo. If I order at a restaurant I always order no mayonnaise.

    Most people know what is good for them and what is bad for them and choose to ignore it, and labelling menus won’t change that.

  11. protest says:

    @bnb614:

    mayo (in it’s most basic form) is egg yolk and oil, so if you’ve ever eaten a salad with dressing, or eggs for breakfast, you’ve ingested the main ingredients of mayo except in greater quantities and not mixed together.
    mayo is no more evil than cheese, or soda, or ground beef. people just need to not use so damn much at once.

  12. Beerad says:

    I’m just curious, how do you arrive at a 1300-calorie sandwich from Subway? Is that like an 18-inch lard and mayo sandwich, on a bun made out of (triangular) cheese?

    Anyway, I’m all for the labeling laws. Been a month or two since everyone’s pounded this dead horse, though, so prepare to read 80 more comments debating the merits.

  13. uricmu says:

    @burgundyyears: Subways actually has caloric details for years in nice convenient stickers on the sneeze-guards. Admittedly, condiments are listed separately from the subs because the amount varies based on how much the guy puts. The label states that the sandwich calorie count does not include condiments.

    But if somebody didn’t know that his 300calories sub may be “augmented” by the mayo and cheese. well…

  14. uricmu says:

    @bnb614: Umm, how does having the menus list calories constitute “big brother telling us what to eat?”. You can still go and eat that 2000 calories double cheeseburger. You’ll just not be able to lie to yourself about not knowing how bad it is.

  15. Anonymously says:

    @bnb614: Most people can guess that certain things are bad for them, but usually have no clue what is actually good/bad for them, or how much they eat.

  16. 3drage says:

    I support putting calories on menu boards. It may help educate people on the disaster that is America’s fast food industry.

  17. XianZomby says:

    @ironchef: That obesity map shows up on CNN.Com’s front page at least once or twice a month. Somebody should do an entry on the declining quality and relevence of CNN’s news page.

  18. JKinNYC says:

    I meant UNDERestimate the power of denial. dammit

  19. elf6c says:

    Is “nanny state” code for stand by for propaganda? Or stand by for astroturf? I get confused.

  20. quagmire0 says:

    Amazing that we have to make things easier and easier for a population that is getting fatter and fatter. See the correlation?

  21. DeeJayQueue says:

    @elf6c: It’s code for “do not read this”

  22. protest says:

    @quagmire0:

    good point. why is it that people are seemingly incapable of making decent decisions on their own these days, be it with food, money, raising their kids, etc? do people really not know that a cheeseburger is 500+ calories, and that you shouldn’t eat one everyday??

  23. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @uricmu:

    The caloric content of Subway’s sandwiches do include cheese & mustard. At least that’s what is on the cups / napkins of the one down the road that I eat lunch at 3 times a week or so.

  24. kimsama says:

    @bnb614: I would like to point out that a “Nanny State” probably wouldn’t be one in which more information is available to the consumer, since it takes more responsibility and brainpower to decide what to eat when presented with all the facts, as opposed to blindly choosing (or choosing based on advertising, always a winnner).

  25. bnb614 says:

    Instead of menu board labeling, I want the law to be that if you go to a McDonald’s and eat a quarter pounder, an employee sits next to you and screams “1,000 calories!” in your ear in between every bite. See because the information the fast food restaurants made available in brochures didn’t provide the results since we are all too dumb to read it and when the menu labeling doesn’t provide the same result, we will need harsher penalties.

    Nanny state is code for you are a moron so the government needs to protect you from yourself. If you need a clearer definition, let me know, and I will text you a message later while speeding down the highway with a cigarette in one hand and a Big Mac in the other.

  26. JeannieGrrl says:

    A person who is actually trying to eat healthy is not going to eat at a fast food dive anyway so whats the issue? They deserve their fat clogged arteries if they’re going to waste their lives on trash foods!

  27. ancientsociety says:

    @bnb614: @quagmire0: I completely agree.

    Really people, ask yourself who this is truly going to help (considering these companies already provide this info). This info is readily available on the internet and on separate menu boards. People who eat fast food on a regular basis are certainly not going to be deterred by having the unhealthy facts right in their face. They already know it’s unhealthy but, for whatever reason, continue to eat it. This may deter the occasional fast food eater who also knows its unhealthy but is a bit more conscentious of the fact.

    Now, granted, I’m not a fan of Big Fast Food but this does smell of the Rob Reiner Anti-Smoking Crusade a la South Park. Start telling everyone how bad it is, then get labels to point out how unhealthy it is, then produce a bunch of biased scientific studies proving your point, then try to get it outlawed.

  28. Instigator says:

    How is it possible for anyone to believe that ANY sub contains only 300 calories?

  29. iamme99 says:

    I saw the show and thought it was a good attempt at getting the issue some publicity. It seemed a bit strange that most of the people the professor guy interviewed in the mall didn’t look very overweight.

    The calorie counts need to be on the big board, not buried in a brochure, on a web page or on the “sneeze guard”.

    It is a shame how many consumers are clueless about the calorie counts of what they eat.

    Maybe instead of numbers showing calories, they should show the calories on a scale of people images, from thin to fat to obese? [lol]

  30. char says:

    A) This isn’t really a nanny state issue, this is a disclosure issue. requiring the tools to make an informed decision isn’t nannying, it’s transparency. And yes, putting this data in plain sight is important. Having the information after purchase, or buried away on the web is like tricking people with the fine print.

    B) Mayo Evil? Delicious maybe, evil no. Not really that much different than adding oil and vinegar to your sandwich. Mayo gets overused, and a bad rap though.

  31. bnb614 says:

    Kimsama if you choose what to eat based on advertising then , wow. I don’t know what else to say. And you aren’t getting more information. The information is available now. Some of us do research on food options and don’t feel like we should be treated like morons because people like you, choose not to. When was the last time you went to a fast food restaurant and picked up a nutrition brochure, that is readily available?

    If you go to a chinese restaurant, the nutrition information won’t be readily available. Why don’t you push for that? Why punish the fast food companies in favor of their competitors?

    Dumb laws like this are the reason New York and San Francisco are considered to unfriendly towards business. Labeling is an anti-business bill cloaked in the guise of food safety.

  32. burgundyyears says:

    @char: Um, it took me like one click on subway’s site and about two on Taco bell’s site to get to nutrition info. They even have an anal-retentive meal builder on Taco Bell’s site for the obsessed (and yes, I did use it! Ha!).

    Mark my words, this will be much ballyhooed, the menus of mass-market restaurants will eventually be littered with calorie totals, and people’s choices will not appreciably change. The information is out there already. The idea that providing calorie counts on the menu board itself is going to change people’s decisions on what to eat is at best, highly speculative.

    (Trust me, I once worked at Burger King. I saw and made the sandwich for the guy who once ordered the Double Whopper (this was in the pre-Tripple whopper era) with extra cheese and bacon and he was NOT going to be fazed by the 2000 calorie total or how ever god-awful high it was.)

  33. splendic says:

    “A) This isn’t really a nanny state issue, this is a disclosure issue. requiring the tools to make an informed decision isn’t nannying, it’s transparency. And yes, putting this data in plain sight is important. Having the information after purchase, or buried away on the web is like tricking people with the fine print.

    B) Mayo Evil? Delicious maybe, evil no. Not really that much different than adding oil and vinegar to your sandwich. Mayo gets overused, and a bad rap though.”
    QFT.

  34. royal72 says:

    forget labeling, i’ve got a way better solution to take care of this problem once and for all!… what we need is mandatory military duty when you turn 18 and part of your training will encompass nutrition education and how to make smart eating decisions. furthermore, it will be sponsored by applebees and pfizer, to alleviate the tax burden of such a program.

  35. HRHKingFriday says:

    I think Subway has the right idea when they show the 6 healthiest options on the sneeze guard, along with most of the condiments. Other places need to be more proactive, like if McDonalds had a salad/light dressing with calories and fat listed.

    Most of the time though, if I’m McDonalds I don’t *want* to know what I’m eating. Which is fine because I only go a couple times a year.

  36. iamme99 says:

    Here’s a tip for your salad – use lemon instead of oil/vinegar or dressing,

  37. Beerad says:

    @bnb614: “Dumb laws like this are the reason New York and San Francisco are considered to be unfriendly towards businesses.” Yes, it’s terrible how no businesses thrive in either of those cities. Especially not McDonald’s.

    “Labeling is an anti-business bill…” — I don’t even know what that statement means. Do you think politicians are honestly thinking “you know what the problem with our community is? BUSINESS! We need to reduce the amount of BUSINESS going on here!!”

    I’m sorry if you would be offended by calorie information being readily accessible because you apparently don’t want to be mistaken for a “moron” (which you seem to indicate means anyone who doesn’t “research” the nutritional content of their lunch). But I hope you understand that issues like national health care trump your smug sense of superiority and that information generally equals more choice, not less.

  38. @Beerad: That’s a horrifying visual.

    I’m guessing he had a 12 inch sub with double meat and double cheese.

  39. @HRHKingFriday: Aren’t McDonald’s salads bad for you even before you add any dressing?

  40. burgundyyears says:

    @Beerad: Labeling could actually have the effect of being fairly anti-business for those restaurants with vast menus and limited means (most Chinese restaurants come to mind) as food testing could be a decent chunk of change for them. That being said, I don’t why they deserve an exemption, unless you really just want to punish McNasty Megacorp and the public health benefits are a nice cover story to tell and secondary benefit.

  41. bnb614 says:

    Labeling is an anti-business bill…” — I don’t even know what that statement means. Do you think politicians are honestly thinking “you know what the problem with our community is? BUSINESS! We need to reduce the amount of BUSINESS going on here!!”

    They don’t do it that implicitly. They pass draconian laws that put undue burdens on businesses. You don’t hear about the people who get laid off, or the companies that go out of business.

    But I hope you understand that issues like national health care trump your smug sense of superiority and that information generally equals more choice, not less

    There it is! My favorite excuse for why the government should control everything. The good old “national health care” excuse. People can’t be trusted to make decisions because some of those are RISKY and affect everyone’s healthcare so we have to regulate and legislate everything that we don’t like.

    You can get in your little dig that I have a smug sense of superiority, I am just aware of my surroundings. Let’s face it, in 2007 if you are unaware that more and more people are overweight, and if you are unaware the fast food is extremely bad for you and unhealthy, then you are a moron and if you need someone to stand in front of you with a sign that says “1000 Calories” and push you out the door, in order to prevent you from eating McDonalds, then a menu board isn’t going to stop you.

    I’m sorry if you would be offended by calorie information being readily accessible

    IT IS READILY AVAILABLE!!! In almost any McDonalds if you walk in, there is a poster hanging by the counter with the nutritional information.

    A bunch of you keep repeating, we need MORE information AVAILABLE. It isn’t MORE information, it is the same information that is currently AVAILABLE.

    I get tired of everything in this country being debased to the lowest denominator to try and help idiots. There will always be idiots out there.

  42. biblio26 says:

    For those that are regularly health conscious, I don’t think this is much of an issue. I would prefer if I could check the calorie and fat contents of meals at the restaurant but I always check online and haven’t had any problem finding calories for Starbucks and Subway online. I do think it would be helpful to those who are not actively watching what they eat. A reality check may help a person make a better decision for his or herself or child.

  43. Beerad says:

    @burgundyyears: Small restaurants deserve an exemption for the exact reason that you describe — it would be unfairly punitive to expect those restaurants to bear the cost of the labeling. Fast-food restaurants, by contrast, put their entire menu on a prominently displayed board over the counter, and there would be minimal cost associated with adding three little numbers next to each line item. Also, large fast-food restaurant chains already know the nutritional content of each item, so there is no additional cost in determining that information.

  44. Beerad says:

    @bnb614:

    1. Come to New York. I’ll show you lots of successful fast-food restaurants.

    2. As many people have pointed out, this legislation would increase flow of information, which helps consumers. Where is the restriction of choice?

    3. When you visit NY, we’ll go into several restaurants and I will laugh as you try to find the nutritional information. You’ll find WMD before finding the “readily available” info.

  45. louisb3 says:

    @ancientsociety: It would help poor people, who don’t have Internet access, and (also @bnb614: ) it would help people in the real world, where restaurants are unenthusiastic at best about actually making nutritional infomation available.

    Super Size Me (oh noes, I brought it up) had a scene in which the documentarians tried and failed to get nutritional info from about a half-dozen McDonalds. Given that I haven’t seen any real studies, I’m inclined to believe that anecdotal evidence, along with my own experience of never seeing nutritional info available in restaurants. Both indicate that the whole “info is already available” argument is bullshit.

  46. peggynature says:

    I like the idea of having nutrition readily available. But I like the idea of people knowing wtf to do with that information even more.

    (Hint: it wouldn’t be so they could neurotically restrict their food intake and refer to mayonnaise as “evil.”)

  47. peggynature says:

    @quagmire0: Oh I get it. Fat people are lazy. Huh. Never heard that one before.

  48. thalia says:

    I went to Wendy’s the other day and they flat out refused to show me the nutrition poster that they were meant to have on the wall. When I asked a manager, he said he’d never heard of it, that they didn’t have one, and that he didn’t know where it was all in one breath!

  49. tkr5 says:

    The best reason for this law is the fact that people *think* they know the approximate calories of the food at these places and thus don’t think they need to look it up.

    If you allow people to eat as much as they want of a basket of whole bagels, they eat more than if you offer them half bagels because they assume that whatever is offered is the appropriate serving size. Since these restaurants advertise themselves as normal places to eat, people naturally assume that the middle size, average meal combination is approximately the number of calories a normal person should eat at a normal meal, but that isn’t true. Yes, most people are making assumptions they shouldn’t make, but that is a well known and natural human tendency.

    The restaurants encourage people’s erroneous assumptions through their advertising slogans and range of offerings, so they need to make the accurate information more visible.

  50. burgundyyears says:

    @Beerad: That’s true, but then it really is about punishing Megacorp’s bad food while the little eatery next door loads down every their “bad food” with 4000mg of sodium per every serving and no one’s the wiser. That really doesn’t make a lot of sense from a public health perspective.

    The bottom line is, the people who really care about nutritional information already get it from web sites or brochures (which I do see in fast food restaurants in MI at least).

    You think you can make people who don’t really care about caloric intake start to care and change their eating habits by giving them three little numbers that are abstract to most individuals when they are hungry. And they want their food. now. Color me dubious.

    Will we also need the recommended dietary guidelines be posted? Because lord knows a lot of people are out to lunch on how many calories they’re even supposed to eat. And you’d better post nutrition data for serving sizes of each individual made to order option because some people clearly aren’t clued in on the the whole mayonnaise = evil thing yet.

    How about – and I actually kind of like this idea – doing a running tally on the cash register of the calories in your meal in a big ass font so as to advertise how poorly you eat and how thoughtless you are in wasting future health care dollars and in doing so invite the jeers and insults of fellow line dwellers on the wayward citizen. NOW we’re talking behavioral change.

  51. csdiego says:

    Just an anecdote here to add to all the hypotheticals we’re flinging around:

    I’m a fan of Chipotle. I used to have no idea how many calories were in my favorite burrito, but I thought it must be pretty healthy because all the ingredients were fresh. It was a classier burrito, so how bad could it be? When I did the research (it took some digging on the Internet) and found out that my favorite order had 1300 calories in it, I (a) realized why I had such a hard time finishing a burrito there, (b) stopped going there so often, and (c) switched to a healthier option when I did go. Not every consumer has the option of researching every meal ahead of time on the Internet. Healthy eating shouldn’t be a specialized, time-consuming hobby.

    And if labeling everything makes McD’s go out of business, so what? Why should I care about McD’s when it’s never cared about me or my health? They’re in the business of selling fried protein pucks with as many add-ons as possible; I’m in the business of looking out for my own health and well-being. If they close, their laid-off workers can just go to work at the salmon burger-and-lentil-soup place that will spring up down the road to replace McD’s. Or if McD’s is smart they will come out with their own salmon burgers and lentil soups, and not have to close at all. And if consumers don’t care about calories and still demand Monster Thickburgers or whatever with enough calories to feed an Ethiopian village for a day, I’m confident that they will still be available.

    This would be cake for chain restaurants, which already know the calorie and nutrient contents of all their food. Small restaurants that don’t want to have to test all their food can provide terminals with access to the USDA food database, which can be beefed up a bit to cover common restaurant dishes and their components. It’s the same research we’d be doing online, only the restaurant takes some responsibility for providing the information so it’s easier to make good choices. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  52. burgundyyears says:

    @csdiego:

    Healthy eating shouldn’t be a specialized, time-consuming hobby.

    And herein lies part of the problem. Eating healthy actually does take some effort. Sorry, it just does.

    (Lest I be misunderstood I’m not really opposed to calorie counts on menus, I just think it really needs to apply universally across restaurants in some fashion and even then will have little or noticeable effect. Most people eat to sate, not to reach their predetermined calorie total for the day.)

  53. camille_javal says:

    @csdiego: you pretty much cover one of my biggest issues – there’s a lot of, blah, blah, of course that cheeseburger is bad for you going on here, but what about the supposedly-healthy options that turn out not to be so? One person mentioned McDonald’s salads – salads are a big one. You’d be better off getting a lot of the higher-protein, seemingly worse-for-you in a lot of cases.

    As for saying don’t eat fast food, that’s fine (I don’t) – but some people have trouble avoiding it. They have a commute, they can’t seem to keep on top of making something and taking it with them (and, if you’re thinking, I can do it, so can they, give yourself a medal), and options suck. I was in a nothing-but-strip malls part of a southern state recently, and talking to my recently-transferred-there boyfriend about how stunning it is that you can find pockets that just don’t seem to have anything but fast food – I didn’t even see that many grocery stores. A lot of people have jobs that don’t allow them to eat very frequently, either, so by the time they get off work, it’s just about getting food, now. (God knows I’ve resorted to fast food for that reason. I’m thin, but I have to eat something about every two hours. If I didn’t live extremely close to where I work, I might resort more often to crappy options.)

    I don’t like a “nanny state,” either, but give me a fucking break – slapping a few numbers (not for every conceivable combination – we can still force people to do their own math) on a menu is still in the realm of information. The posters most fast food restaurants are supposed to have, if they’re there, have very tiny print, and I’ve seen many that were set halfway behind the counter – so you can lean over the counter and squint. I’ve *never* seen a fast food place in New York that had the nutrition pamphlets stocked. As for the internet, not everybody has access, and not everybody has the foresight to plan ahead. I would rather a culture where the information were available at the moment of decision – obsession with food creates other problems, and it’s unnecessary and a bit gross to expect people to plan ahead, always. (I do, but I’m on medication to treat that problem.)

    And, finally, to anyone who said mayonnaise is evil – I hope a contingent of Belgians and Japanese (Kewpie, my god, Kewpie) conspire to slap you. Mayonnaise, in proper amounts and properly made, is one of the best things to happen to food. (Most of what they hand out in fast food places isn’t worth it, though – it is the margarine to mayonnaise’s butter.)

  54. twoply says:

    The guy in the picture estimated a foot-long sub, chips, and a juice to be 300 calories! He almost had a heart attack when he found out how much it really was too.

  55. gibbersome says:

    Just to let you guys know, I’ve been in one of Brian Wansink’s classes and he’s a jerk.

  56. gibbersome says:

    He’s a good professor though.

  57. csdiego says:

    @burgundyyears: Right now, yeah, healthy eating does take effort, and a gold medal to you if you do it all the time. I watch what I eat, too. I cook most of what I eat myself, take the time to pack a lunch, I read labels in the grocery store, all that.

    But some people just don’t have that kind of time. They’ve got kids, they’re working multiple jobs with crazy schedules, maybe they’ve got other hobbies, don’t know how to cook, etc. If we say, well, eating right is hard work and if those people don’t feel like doing it, then tough noogies, we’re throwing up our hands and saying it’s OK to live in an obese society with all the health problems we have because God forbid we require restaurant owners, fast food or otherwise, to take a tiny bit of responsibility for the product they are selling us. All that would mean is just telling us what they already know about their food (and in the case of the small restaurant owners, I proposed that they provide some kind of access to the USDA’s food database, or maybe the USDA could help them with their nutrition data in some other way). I just don’t think that’s so harsh. It’s more like leveling the playing field just a little.

  58. louisb3 says:

    Given that the whole availability of nutritional info is a complete joke, without any enforcement, punishment, or incentive for restaurants to obey the law, I’m inclined to see on-menu caloric info as a superior implementation of existing precedent.

  59. burgundyyears says:

    @csdiego: God forbid we require restaurant owners, fast food or otherwise, to take a tiny bit of responsibility for the product they are selling us.

    They do take responsibility for their food. When was the last time you got botulism from your Enchirtacoito Supreme?

    And let’s say consumers do get provided with all the nutritional data you desire (not just caloric data, even, again, which I’m not opposed to.) What happens when little benefit is detected and surprise, surprise, people continue eat to sate when they arrive hungry and in a hurry? Wholesale control and regulation of what the restaurant sells is the natural next step. And all in the name of public health, which apparently legitimizes just about any action government might take to some people.

  60. bnb614 says:

    But some people just don’t have that kind of time. They’ve got kids, they’re working multiple jobs with crazy schedules, maybe they’ve got other hobbies, don’t know how to cook, etc. If we say, well, eating right is hard work and if those people don’t feel like doing it, then tough noogies, we’re throwing up our hands and saying it’s OK to live in an obese society with all the health problems we have because God forbid we require restaurant owners, fast food or otherwise, to take a tiny bit of responsibility for the product they are selling us.

    It isn’t their responsibility for what goes in your body. It is yours. To say “some people are too busy” is such a lame excuse. Figure it out. Take responsibility for yourself. To say we need government intervention because people are too busy to worry for themselves is ridiculous and a classic example of why the government acts like your nanny.

    FYI, alot of people speed and get in car wrecks. Should we have car companies forced to put speed regulators in all cars so they don’t go above 75 mph. After all if we don’t, we are “throwing up our hands and saying it’s OK to live in an dangerous society with all the insurance problems we have because God forbid we require car manufacturers to take a tiny bit of responsibility for the product they are selling us.” See how damn ridiculous that sounds?

    How long until the gov’t says 30 grams of fat in a Quarter Pounder? Well that is too many so you have to stop selling those.

    If you want to eat healthy all the time, don’t eat out. As one chef said on FoodTV’s “Next Iron Chef,” said when he put a half a stick a butter in a dish, “we are their cooks, not their doctors.”

  61. synergy says:

    @louisb3: IAWTC

  62. Nicococure says:

    @csdiego:

    I agree with you whole-heartedly. Why are people so worried about McDonalds restaurants, and whether they make it or not? I’d rather see a good place to eat stay in business and make it than a place that misses the mark for good eating altogether.

  63. Satans_Little_helper says:

    Of course mayo is evil. Evil is always delicious! So are cigarettes, full fat sour cream and small dogs!

    But we’d prefer that this labelling go ahead – free will might mean you can choose your fate but somehow it tastes so much better when you know exactly how much grease you’re sucking back.

    Besides, some of you are having trouble fitting through the gate down here and prybars don’t have quite the same cachet as pitchforks.

  64. csdiego says:

    @bnb614: Sorry, I don’t buy the slippery-slope argument. We’re talking about the government requiring restaurants to share information with us, not going in and micromanaging recipes.

  65. meehgz says:

    Teehee Professor Wansink is my advisor at school. I left my copy of Mindless Eating on the kitchen table at home and my dad, presumably after flipping through it, called me the other day to say “I think your advisor guy was on TV again!!!” Oh, the joys.

  66. Ratty says:

    I’m actually one of those nuts that gets a burger craving and checks the online nutrition information and bases where/what to eat on how I’ve eaten that day if I’m a bit indecisive. It seems to work… somehow after 3 years in the United States I haven’t gained weight. It’s a little effort, maybe 2 minutes, and it does help. Doesn’t even need obsessiveness.