The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has asked restaurants in the country to display the calorie counts of the food they sell. The USFDA issued a renewed warning on May 5 and has given the eatery owners a deadline of five months to follow the rules.
The national calorie disclosure rule is a part of the healthcare reform laws (Affordable Care Act of 2010), also known as Obamacare, that aim to help consumers make better eating decisions, Reuters reported.
The new rules require restaurants and other fast food chains with more than 20 locations to display the calories listed on menus and menu boards. The regulations also apply to vending machine operators with more than 20 locations.
The USFDA had earlier issued a Dec 1, 2015 deadline to restaurant owners for following the rules but the stiff opposition from fast food chain, supermarket and convenience store lobbyists helped delay the implementation of the rules.
"I'm hopeful that the date will stick," Margo Wootan, the director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a long-time supporter of the new regulations, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The pressure from lobbyists for Dominos' Pizza and other supermarket chains led the U.S House of Representatives in February to pass a legislation aimed to weaken the rules.
However, the U.S. government, according to Reuters, opposed the House bill by saying that it "would undercut the objective of providing clear, consistent calorie information to consumers." But the government had passed no formal orders then.
The U.S is battling obesity, which could be attributed to the popular practice of eating out in the country. As per a study published in the medical journal, Lancet, the country had 41.7 million obese men and 46.1 million obese women in 2014. More than one in four severely obese men, and almost one in five severely obese women in the world still live in the U.S, the study found.