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New York Proposes Legislation to Set Nutritional Standards for Incentive Items found in Fast Food Meals

September 23, 2014

The State of New York has introduced legislation that aims to set nutritional standards for restaurant foods distributed to children in conjunction with incentive items. The legislation with file number Int 0442-2014 prohibits a restaurant from offering for free or for a nominal price an incentive item in combination with the purchase of a meal unless the meal meets the following nutritional standards:

  • Less than 500 calories
  • Less than 600 milligrams of sodium
  • Less than 35 percent of total calories from fat, except for fat contained in nuts, seeds, peanut butter, or other nut butter
  • Less than 10 percent of total calories from saturated fats, except for saturated fat contained in nuts, seeds, peanut butter, or other nut butter
  • Less than 10 percent of total calories from added sugars and/or caloric sweeteners
  • Contains one half cup of fruit or vegetables or one serving of whole-grain products; and

A beverage, if included, shall meet the following criteria:

  • Less than 150 calories;
  • Less than 35 percent of total calories from fat;
  • Less than 15 percent of total calories from saturated fat;
  • Less than 10 percent of total calories from added sugars and/or caloric sweeteners;
  • No added non-nutritive sweeteners; and
  • No caffeine, with the exception of trace amounts of naturally occurring caffeine substances.

Additionally, a restaurant would be prohibited from offering an incentive item in combination with the purchase of a single food item unless the single food item contains less than 200 calories and less than 200 milligrams of sodium.

The legislation defines “restaurant” as any coffee shop, cafeteria, luncheonette, sandwich stand, diner, short order café, fast food establishment, soda fountain, and any other eating or beverage  establishment, which gives or offers for sale food or beverages to the public, guests, members, or patrons, whether food or beverages are customarily consumed on or off the premises.

This local law would take effect 120 days after its enactment, provided that the promulgation of any necessary actions and rules takes place prior to the effective date.

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