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Judge Strikes Down NYC Calorie-Posting Rule

A judge struck down a New York City rule Tuesday that required fast-food restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Holwell said he determined the rule conflicted with federal law. Businesses had claimed that their First Amendment rights were violated by the rule, described as the first of its kind in the nation, but Howell said he reached his decision without needing to address those claims.

The city had targeted national fast-food chains by applying the law only to those that served standardized portion sizes and that were already making calorie information available voluntarily as of March 1.

A judge struck down a New York City rule Tuesday that required fast-food restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Holwell said he determined the rule conflicted with federal law. Businesses had claimed that their First Amendment rights were violated by the rule, described as the first of its kind in the nation, but Howell said he reached his decision without needing to address those claims.

The city had targeted national fast-food chains by applying the law only to those that served standardized portion sizes and that were already making calorie information available voluntarily as of March 1.

In arguments supporting the city’s rule, the groups argued that an adverse ruling would undermine pending legislation in state and local legislatures around the country.

Legislation similar to New York City’s is under way in 14 states where obesity rates have recently surged — Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Vermont.

Nutrition labeling legislation has also been introduced in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington.

New York City’s rule took effect in July, but enforcement was suspended pending the outcome of the court fight.


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