Phila. City Council airs menu bill

April 10, 2008 3:10:33 PM PDT
Do you really want to know what's in those french fries? And should some restaurants be required to tell you how many calories, and how much fat is in that mouth-watering dish you've been anxious to dive into.

That was the debate going today at Philadelphia City Hall.

If you're eating out, or picking food up, chances are you don't know how many calories or fat grams you're shovelling in.

Megan Clarke, walking in Center City, said, "They say low fat. But what they consider low fat may not be low fat to me."

But now some city lawmakers are trying to change that,.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown held a public hearing today on her bill.

If passed, chain restaurants and food stores would have to list nutritional information.

Menu boards would show calories

Menus would include the number of calories, fat grams, sodium, and carbohydrates.

Reynolds Brown told Action News, "We know that eating out is directly related to obesity."

Bonnie Lomax feels strongly that, "People need to know."

But while many people, including doctors testifying today, support the bill, restaurant owners are fighting it.

They say it's too difficult to determine the exact nutritional information.

Patrick Conway, of the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association, told Council, "Ordering, preparing, and delivering food in a restaurant is much different than delivering prepacked foods in a grocery store."

Other opponents say the bill is not practical, and it will take away from the dining out experience.

Ritu Mendritta says, "People want to eat and relax and not worry about all that. If they want to know, they can research it on their own."

Reynolds Brown hopes to bring the bill for a vote by June of this year. If it passes, it could take effect at the first of the year..