After the first information session regarding Metro's proposed menu-labeling regulations—which would require restaurants to print the calorie counts of menu items—health department officials made the following modifications to the proposed rules:
1. Restaurants with 15 or more stores must print calorie counts on their menus. This number was raised from 10 in the earlier draft.
2. Regulations would extend to retail grocery establishments with in-house dining, such as Whole Foods.
3. Restaurants would have until the end of 2009 to comply with the regulations.
4. The following language was added in an attempt to allay fears of potential lawsuits:
“This regulation is not intended to provide or be used to support a private cause of action by any individual, other than an individual, entity, or agency authorized to enforce this regulation, against a covered food service establishment for compliance or non-compliance with this regulation. This regulation does not prohibit a covered food service establishment from including a statement on a menu or menu board that there may be variations in calorie content values across actual servings based on slight variations in serving size, quantity of ingredients, or special ordering."
The Metro Board of Health will consider the regulations, which are intended to help fight the rising trend of obesity, at the Dec. 4 meeting. Prior to that meeting, the health department will host a public comment session on Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. in the Lentz Public Health Center auditorium, located at 311 23rd Ave. N. Written comments will be accepted until Nov. 13.
The health department will conduct its second hour-long information session today at 2 p.m. at Lentz.