NYC chain stores now must list calorie counts on prepared foods

New Yorkers are already used to seeing calorie information at chain restaurants, but starting Monday, May 22, 2017, you can also expect to see it on prepared foods at chain supermarkets and convenience stores.

"The kind of things that would count would be, for example, a pre-prepared sandwich in Whole Foods that you would buy in a package," said Dr. Sonia Angell, deputy health commissioner. "In Costco, it might be ready-to-eat pizza."

New York City will be the first municipality to require grocery and convenience stores with more than 15 outlets nationwide to clearly display calorie counts for prepared foods and beverages and have additional nutritional information available upon request. The rules will apply to about 1,500 food retailers.

"We enjoy the convenience of pre-prepared foods but those pre-prepared foods also carry a lot of calories and nutritional information that we may not know when we purchase them." Dr. Angell said.

New Yorkers we spoke to are mixed.

Meanwhile, some retailers worry the new rules will be burdensome. John Catsimatidis, who runs the local Gristedes grocery chain, told Fox 5, "It's probably the right thing to do, but it's a hard law to enforce."

The Health Department said it will be working with the retailers to make the needed changes.

"Ninety-eight percent of restaurants in the city that are covered by the calorie-labeling requirements are fully in compliance with problems," Dr. Angell said. "So we expect it to not be a problem for other establishments as well."

Starting Monday, health inspectors will be helping food retailers learn about and implement the new rule. But the probationary period ends August 21. At that point, businesses that don't comply will face fines of $200 to $600.