Maine was first. Again.

Maine was the first state to propose this health policy. Now, it is the law in the entire country!

hero_image_alt_text===Wendy's menu board that lists calories.
thumbnail_alt_text===Wendy's menu board that lists calories.

Once again, Maine lives up to our state motto, Dirigo which means "I lead."

As you may have noticed in the national news, the FDA rules that require all chain restaurants to list the calorie content of their food on their menus and menu boards were finally enacted. This has been a long time coming. Those of us in Maine who want to assure that the food we eat fits into our healthy diet have been looking forward to this since 2003.

Yes. 15 years.

The Maine legislature and healthy food advocates proposed a bi-partisan bill back in 2003 that would have required chain restaurants to list calorie counts. The effort was not successful, but we were the first state to try. Of course, no one tells a Mainer what to do and we don't give up easily, so, we tried again in 2005 and 2007. Failed both times. However, after a few successes in cities across the country (and California), we tried one more time. Guess what?? We passed the bill in 2009 although implementation was delayed due to Federal action. The Federal Government started to act just about the same time Maine did. Congress passed a law in 2010 but it took 8 years to implement the law. Why? Well, the fast food, beverage and convenience store lobbyists worked overtime to make the rules as weak as possible. We fought back. They did the exact same thing in Maine. In fact, one of them duped a legislator into sponsoring a bill that they claimed would have Maine's menu labeling law conform to the new Federal law. Well, I read the bill. That was NOT TRUE. It did do conformity, but also completely weakened other parts of Maine law. Nice try. Boy, that legislator was mad at them.

So, as we head into summer and Mainers come out of hibernation, please enjoy the calorie information at the chain restaurants and remember, the AHA in Maine has been there for the entire ride.

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