Monday, September 29, 2008

A big caveat on menu labeling

The country is obviously tipping toward menu labeling, with mandates pending on the federal, state and local levels. But one of the nation’s most celebrated thought leaders is swinging in the opposite direction after discovering a hidden risk firsthand. Harvard University has pulled the nutrition information it formerly displayed in its foodservice operations because the disclosure of calorie counts could aggravate students’ eating disorders.

“Specifically, we needed to address the challenge a quiet and surprisingly large contingent of our community faces with eating disorders,” Ted Mayer, the executive director of Harvard’s dining services, said in his blog. “Those individuals can place an undue emphasis on calories and other literal food values, making their placement over every food item a real challenge. Thus, we did what we felt best addressed the special health needs of those individuals, much as we support people with food allergies or religious dietary preferences.”

Detailed nutrition information on what’s offered at the facilities is still available from the school’s website and onsite kiosks.

Posted comments on the decision have been mixed. Some students asserted that the situation mandates more effective counseling for persons suffering from eating disorders, not the removal of information that could benefit far greater numbers of people.

They also blasted the alternative of making nutrition information available via computers, noting that their meals are often a hurried, spontaneous affair. That objection could be echoed as the industry tries to deflect demand for on-menu postings by promoting online or kiosk postings as replacements.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous steakman said...

"They also blasted the alternative of making nutrition information available via computers, noting that their meals are often a hurried, spontaneous affair. That objection could be echoed as the industry tries to deflect demand for on-menu postings by promoting online or kiosk postings as replacements"

This is too good to be true! Watching do-gooders get caught in their own web of good intentions and political correctness. Boy, Have things have really changed from when I was in college. We weren't worried about nutritional info when we were fishing through the couch cushions for change to buy a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese and a quart of bud. Ah, memories!

Sincerely, Steakman

September 30, 2008 at 12:11 PM  

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