November 20, 2008

Food Labeling: Not Just for Packaged Food Anymore

Back in May, the SF Supervisors approved a measure "that requires chain restaurants to post nutrition information on their menus." The idea is that if people actually know what's in their food they won't eat it. And they'll be skinny. So look for that (probably scary) info soon at In & Out, McDonald's, Pinkberry, etc.

But what does that info do if you have nothing to compare it to? Does anyone really understand recommended daily allowances (or even what that means)? This week, Church Produce (Church/30th St.) labeled it's bulk produce, ostensibly to show us how healthy their food is.

So just for kicks, let's compare a couple basic carb foods:

McDonald' French Fries (Medium, 4.1 ounces)

Carbs: 380g
Protein: 4g
Fat: 19g
Sodium: 270mg
Other good stuff: Vit A (0% Daily Value), Vit C (15%), Calcium (2%), Iron (6%)

Butternut Squash (1/2 cup, 4 ounces):

Carbs: 14g
Protein: 1g
Fat: 0g
Sodium: 0mg
Other good stuff: Vit A (260% Daily Value), Vit C (40%), Calcium (6%), Iron (1%), Potassium (420mg)

Duh. We all know squash is healthier than french fries. But it is nice to have the info posted for all foods at the grocery store. Good job, Church Produce! Let's just hope we don't see it in every restaurant on every menu. That would be annoying.

Speaking of... the ordinance requires that all chains with more than 20 stores post info. Best we can tell, that means that Pomodoro and Starbucks are the only chains in Noe Valley that will have nutrition info posted. Do we have that right? Any guesses how many restaurants in the Castro or on Chestnut St. will have to comply...?

[SFGate: S.F. Supes Require Posting of Nutrition Info]
[McDonald's: Nutrition Facts]