Legal and Public Health Considerations Affecting the Success, Reach, and Impact of Menu-Labeling Laws

Nutrition labels on restaurant menus are a strategy to inform consumers and address the issue of obesity. The article provides ways in which public health laws focusing on menu-labeling can be written and defended against challenges.

What researchers found: The authors stress that while the current legislative climate around menu-labeling is positive, laws must not only be grounded in public health rationale, but also must be legally sound. Both legal theory and experience demonstrate ways in which menu-labeling laws can be written to avoid claims of preemption and challenges under the First Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the Equal Protection Clause.

Why we chose this publication: In response to the growing interest in mandating menu-labeling requirements for restaurants, these researchers present the public health rationale for laws that would enable customers to make more informed decisions at the point of purchase. Policy-makers should refer to the legal theory and approaches outlined in this article to ensure that future menu-labeling legislation can be effectively enacted and upheld in court.

What researchers studied:The authors analyze the legal basis for requiring consumers to be informed, but also address the key challenges facing lawmakers regarding menu labels.   

  • Legal and Public Health Considerations Affecting the Success, Reach, and Impact of Menu-Labeling Laws (Web)

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