New York City has officially become the first U.S. city to enforce a new rule requiring chain restaurants to post a calorie count on their menus for items sold which went into effect Friday.

Now health inspectors can fine fast food restaurants and casual dining chains up to a $2000 fine if they do not have the calorie count clearly displayed in the same font and format as the menu item is displayed. The city has already banned public smoking (in 2003) and they have banned artery clogging trans fat which began July 1.

This new rule will include restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Applebee’s, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and Subway to name a few.

There have been different opinions on the new rule. Some say that they wouldn’t think twice about ordering a 540 calorie Big Mac from McDonald’s or even a 440 calorie Iced Lemon Loaf from Starbucks. They say they are going to eat what they want anyway. Some people are all for it saying before now people didn’t really realize what they were eating.

“I’d be shocked if consumers weren’t already aware that when they’re eating at a fast food restaurant, the cheeseburgers and fries and fountain drinks are not healthy,” said Morningstar analyst John Owens. “People don’t go to McDonald’s for a healthy lunch. They go for a fast burger and fries,” he said.

Jan Barrett

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