Fast-food laws for New York

Meat-based, fast-food chains in New York City could face financial losses this summer because of a new law that will force restaurants to clearly display the calorie content of menu items.

The New York City Board of Health recently passed a by-law that requires restaurants that have already provided calorie counts of their food on websites or pamphlets or any other public form to display them clearly in the customers view when they order food.

Health officials said it would apply to roughly 10% of the city's restaurants, mainly large chains that have highly standardised menus and portions.

Janine Paavola, of the New Jersey-based Food Institute, said restaurants will feel the change financially. "It will cost the restaurants money to change their menus. The brands will suffer because, quite honestly, people are going to think the food is cheap but it's also not healthy. So these restaurants are going to have to spend a lot of money re-marketing themselves to customers, maybe giving them healthier options," she said. The law will take effect as of July 1, 2007. Authorities will allow a grace period from July 1, 2007 to October 1, 2007, after which fines starting at US$200 will be handed out by inspectors.