Consumers have the right to know

Jillian Beaudry

Editor in Chief

Stacey Barchenger

Managing Editor

We all deserve to know what we are eating.

New York City is getting it right by asking some chain restaurants to post the calorie content of their dishes on menus. However, some restaurants in the state are upset, claiming the new rule raises legal issues, even though U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell ruled the policy constitutional, according to an April 22 story in The New York Times. The judge decided in favor of the idea because it will work to actively reduce obesity in New York City.

As of now, if the designated restaurants do not have their calories posted after June 6, they will be fined. The story said the government is imposing its views on consumers and violating their First Amendment rights. They are also concerned that the regulation takes away the flexibility and the freedom of owners to post nutrition information how they see fit.

Pushing a cart through the grocery store, one can make decisions about the food he or she will consume because all of the nutrition information and ingredients are listed. There is no guessing.

If one doesn’t want to consume high fructose corn syrup or chicken fat flavoring, they don’t have to. They can choose the brand of cereal with fewer calories.

In restaurants, consumers are eating blindly. We have no idea where the ingredients in our food come from, how it is cooked or what the nutrition and calorie content is. All we know is the cost. We order whatever sounds good and get what is provided. This is not the way we should be making choices.

We should be able to have all the information about a dish beforehand to make the best choice for ourselves.

Those with dietary allergies would worry less about eating at restaurants if they knew exactly what was in each dish. The unassuming person with a deadly nut allergy will not land in the hospital because a cook decided to add a splash of peanut oil to a sauce.

As for violating First Amendment rights, the government will not be forcing consumers to eat certain foods if the calorie and nutrition information is posted. No one else has been standing up for the one’s power to decide what one consumes. It’s about time someone did.

The restaurant chains are throwing a hissy fit because they know when people see their popular creamy pasta dish contains 2,100 calories, sales will drop drastically. But isn’t it better to give consumers the power to make healthier decisions?

The Catty Shack on campus posts the calories in its smoothies on the overhead board and the nutrition information can be found on top of the glass case by the cash register. Students can easily decide which smoothie is healthiest for them and feel confident in what they are consuming.

It would be great if that information extended throughout campus dining services, such as at O’Riley’s, or even better, if it caught on around McMinnville.

Students are looking and feeling run down, especially as finals get closer. They aren’t eating right or exercising enough because they are studying so much.

Make a difference in student wellness and follow New York City’s efforts: Post more nutrition information and give us the power to decide what we consume.


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