How many calories are in that pizza?

Picture by Scott Bauer, USDA

The major pizza companies are up in arms. Why? Because the FDA will soon require them to post calorie counts for their pizzas, which they say is impractical for a number of reasons. For example, the regulations would require the restaurants to list the calories in an entire pizza, rather than the calories per slice.

The proposed rules, which were distributed via the Federal Register in April 2011, would apply not only to pizza chains, but also to other restaurant chains with more than 20 locations. There was an open comment period that ended on July 5, 2011; comments that were submitted during that period can be viewed online at regulations.gov. Although the FDA anticipated issuing the final rules by the end of 2011, there have been delays and now they anticipate issuing the rules in November of this year.

There is evidence that consumers agree with the FDA’s stance. A recent study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that consumers overwhelmingly favored labeling in restaurants, and even favored labeling of items exempted from the new FDA rules, such as alcohol.

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