Foodservice Equipment Reports

Calorie-Counting Bill Advances In Louisiana Senate

Louisiana, considered in many studies as the most obese state in the nation, is considering legislation that takes menu-labeling requirements a step further than those required under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The ACA requires nutrition labeling of standard menu items at chain restaurants with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name. In Louisiana, Senate Bill 512 would apply to restaurants which do business under the same trade name in 15 or more locations—at least one of which is located in Louisiana and offers predominantly the same type of meals, food, beverages or menus, regardless of the ownership of different locations.

Under SB512, the chain restaurant also would have to post in a prominent location the following statement: “To maintain a healthy weight, a typical adult should consume approximately 2,000 calories per day; however, individual calorie needs may vary.”

The state’s Department of Health and Hospitals would inspect restaurants for compliance with the law. If violations were found, an establishment would have 60 days to fix the problems without incurring a fine. If the violations were not fixed, the restaurant would be subject to a fine of $250-$1,000.

However, under the federal ACA, state or local governments would not be able to impose different or additional requirements. Final federal regulations are due out later this year.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association opposes the law, warning that it would be in conflict with federal regulations and thus confusing and costly to Louisiana restaurant chains.