The House gave final passage to a bill Monday that would require national chain restaurants to post calories counts on all their menus. The bill passed by a vote of 89-60 after a few hours of debate which was consumed by fun facts about which has more calories a bagel or a jelly doughnut.
Rep. Betsy Ritter, D-Quaker Hill, said posting calories on the menu will help consumers make healthier choices and with families spending more than half their food dollars outside of their own kitchens, the bill couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It empowers people and gives them a sense of personal responsibility,” Ritter said.
But Republicans and a few dozen Democratic lawmakers disagreed. They said caloric information alone does not help people make healthy choices.
The number of calories in a certain item is not going to help a diabetic who needs to know how much sugar is in something, opponents argued. They also argued it was bad for businesses that would be forced to change their menus to include the information when its probably already provided on their Web sites.
“I think this is absolutely unnecessary,” Rep. Mary Ann Carson, R-New Fairfield, said.
She said the issue should be dealt with on the national level so it can be done with uniformity.
“Instead of doing the business we should be doing,” House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said referring to the state budget. “We are passing a bill that will be seen as meaingless.”
The bill already passed the Senate by a vote of 29-6. It now goes to Gov. M. Jodi Rell for her approval.