I went to a restaurant for lunch today and ended up ordering just black coffee because there was no nutrition information on the menu, in the restaurant or online for this particular large chain restaurant. I ate when I got home instead. I decided that unless the food service industry is forced by either consumers or the government, they will continue to poison the public with high fat, high sodium, high calorie, low nutrition foods with neglectful abandon. So, I wrote this letter to my senators:
Dear Senator ____________,
I am an obese woman who has made a committment to myself to eat properly and excercise more. I am telling you this because I have found that when I go out to eat, it is very hard to find nutritional information. My partner is also diabetic and has high blood pressure, so she also has to track her nutrition. Sometimes, if we are out and about, if her blood sugar drops, running home is not an option and we have to stop to eat right then in order to keep her from serious problems. I thought that there were laws about restaurants needing to provide nutrition information, but evidently not. For instance, today we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch (it was one of those emergency moments for her), and they had no nutrition information on the menu. I asked the waitress for something with that information. She went to check and found out that there was no nutrition information available in the restaurant for their customers. I then used my smartphone to find information, and they did not provide anything on their website either.
In this country, we have an epidemic of health issues related to obesity and poor nutrition. It is vital that all Americans have free access to information on the food that we eat. Please consider making this a part of your mission as a senator. We need laws that either provide nutrition information directly on restaurant menus or, at minimum, provide nutrition information at customer request. (Small, single site restaurants may not need to be subject to this, but multiple site companies- either franchises or chains, should be subject to these requirements.)
I have no idea if there is any pending legislation on this order, or if anything has ever been introduced, passed or rejected in the past. I just feel that this is an urgent issue in today's climate.
I am just one person dealing with this issue. There are millions of others as well. I, for one, would be less likely to order something off of a menu if it said that the calorie count was over 500, and more likely to order something with fewer calories, lower sodium, less fat, fewer carbs and, say higher calcium. (Did you know that many restaurant salads touted as "healthier" options can run 700-1100 calories per serving?) If that information is readily available, I believe that Americans would make better informed and healthier choices. "Out of sight is out of mind" as the old saying goes. The same goes for nutrition.
Please consider taking this up as an issue in the legislature.
I encourage those of you reading this to contact your legislators, state and federal, to encourage them to require nutrition information to be available to the public.