6:00am

Thu September 8, 2011
The Commonwealth

Restauranteurs Urged To Take Part In Menu Labeling Program

Twenty-nine Louisville restaurants at 46 locations have signed up so far for a voluntary program to list calorie and other nutritional information on their menus. Department of Public Health and Wellness Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt says the program is aimed at smaller establishments, and as many as 1,300 of them are eligible.

“We are funding this initiative,” she said. “So it would be…one of the best opportunities to get on board while we do have the resources to be able to give back to the community and to be able to invest in the community and to be able to assist, especially our smaller, independently owned businesses and them being able to participate.”

National chain restaurants will soon be required under the federal health care overhaul to list the information.

Money for the local program comes from a nearly $8 million federal grant awarded last year to the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement.

Nesbitt spoke at the Yang Kee Noodle restaurant at Oxmoor Center, which was one of the first to put the information on its menu.

Owner Dan Huckestein says he wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the $10,000 it cost to change his menu listings.

“It’s very difficult when you’re one independent restaurant to be able to find the time and the resources to compile accurate and complete data. So when we heard about the program we were very excited. Our customers have been asking about it for years.”

Last year the health department recommended that the city mount an educational campaign on the risks of foods that contain trans fat, but that program has not yet been launched.