Veto of menu health labeling bill draws scorn and praise
October 16, 2007
• Schwarzenegger ‘completely contradicts his commitment to the health of Californians’
• Schwarzenegger ‘shows an understanding that this bill would have placed unrealistic mandates on restaurateurs’
An effort to require restaurants chains to post the nutritional values of the food they serve has been vetoed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The bill would have required the posting on menu boards and on printed menus the number of calories, grams of saturated fat plus trans fat, sodium, and carbohydrates in the food.
Supporter said if such information were to be clearly displayed at the point of decision, it would help consumers to make more informed choices.
Dr. Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy in Davis, is not pleased with the veto.
“It is both disappointing and perplexing to see the governor walk away from his opportunity to lead the nation on a critical public health issue,” he says. “By vetoing Senate Bill 120, the governor not only denies Californians of the basic information they need to make healthy decisions when dining out but he completely contradicts his commitment to the health of Californians.”
But the lobby for the restaurant industry is pleased.
"By vetoing this legislation, Gov. Schwarzenegger shows an understanding that this bill would have placed unrealistic mandates on restaurateurs,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “The ordering, preparation and delivery process for restaurant food is uniquely different than purchasing packaged foods in a grocery store and therefore a one-size-fits-all mandate is not the answer.”
In vetoing the bill, Mr. Schwarzenegger, whose personal business holdings once included a restaurant in Santa Monica, said the requirement would be too burdensome for restaurants.
The governor sold his restaurant in 1998, well before he ran for office.