S.F. eateries may start counting calories

Following the lead of New York City and Seattle, San Francisco is on the verge of requiring restaurant chains to prominently display calorie counts and other health information for its menu items.

Today, a Board of Supervisors committee will weigh in on legislation authored by Supervisor Tom Ammiano that would require restaurants with 15 or more locations throughout the state to list on its menus, for each food item offered, the number of calories, and the amount of saturated fat, carbohydrates and sodium — in letter size as prominent as used to list the food item.

The information would help prevent obesity, diabetes and other avoidable diseases, the bill states.

“We see it as a health issue,” Ammiano said.

The bill is supported by health groups, but is opposed by The City’s largest restaurant group, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

Kevin Westlye, executive director of the GGRA, said that the bill was too restrictive and should include only chains with 25 or more locations.

“This legislation would have a significant impact on the success and the operations of our restaurant,” wrote Susan Connelly, a representative for Darden Restaurants, a company that includes the Olive Garden chains, in an e-mail to Ammiano.

If approved, violators could receive fines up to $500.

A similar measure was adopted by state legislators last year but was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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