Reporting from Washington —
Many chain restaurants and vending machines would have to display the number of calories in their food for consumers under draft guidelines released Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration.
The guidelines require that calorie information be posted in the same size type as the menu item or price, whichever is larger. Vending machines would have to display the information in a "clear and conspicuous" manner so consumers could review it before making a purchase, according to the guidelines, which were authorized by the healthcare legislation passed this year.
Michael Hanlon, senior scientist for Consumers Union, praised the labeling requirement as a useful tool in guiding food choices but warned that it would not be a magic bullet in curbing the nation's appetite. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese.
Americans consume about a third of their calories from food prepared outside the home and tend to guess wrong about the number of calories in such foods.