Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Here we go again.
As reported in May, certain restaurants in New York City must now, under a new law, post the number of calories for each item on their menu boards or face fines. Now, an entire state may impose the same requirement.
A bill approved by the California Legislature awaiting the signature of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would make the west Coast the state the first in the nation to require restaurants to display the calorie counts for each item on their menus and menu boards. The law would apply to chain restaurants that have 15 or more outlets. About 17,000 restaurants would be affected by the law that would take effect in 2011. Supporters believe restaurant patrons will make healthier choices if presented the calorie information.
A new study indicates 3 out of 5 Californians are either overweight or obese. Researchers from the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley figure a menu-labeling law will result in people losing weight. They calculate the weight loss after the law’s been in effect for a year would be about 2.7 pounds for adult fast-food customers.
The problem is that there is no way of knowing if people will reduce their intake of fattening menu items and exactly what their weight loss, if any would be. Supporters of the California legislation say the calorie counts in New York City are having a dramatic impact. But that evidence is primarily anecdotal. There’s no definitive study that clearly shows consumers armed with calorie counts makes them thinner. To get the data, a study would have to be done to find out what transpires after the law has actually been in effect for some time.
The American Journal of Public Health looked at 11 chains in New York City giving customers calorie counts. Subway was determined to have the most-easily seen information, making it handy for customers before they placed orders. Only 32% of Subway's customers said they saw the numbers, and of those, only 37% admitted the information affected what they purchased, or 12% of all Subway customers. Researchers determined the difference in calories between customers who saw the numbers and those that didn’t. Subway customers that saw the calorie counts ordered meals on average that had 52 less calories, a 7% reduction.
That tells me a menu-labeling requirement doesn’t work. Most customers aren’t seeing the information, not to mention the fact that a weight loss in a year of 2.7 pounds isn’t, I’m sorry, all that much. Some studies suggest only 15-20% actually pay attention to labels.
California’s restaurant industry prefers legislation proposed by Assembly member Nicole Parra (D-Hanford). It differs from the bill that calls for calorie counts on menus and menu boards by requiring the same information, but allowing restaurants to display it in several ways: menu or other writing at the point of sale, standard food item packaging, counter or table tent, tray liner, poster, brochure or other printed material, and/or electronic kiosk. The information must be available on the premises of the restaurant.
Will Governor Schwarzenegger sign the bill? Sure looks like it. Recently he signed a bill into law making California the first state to ban trans fats in restaurants.
Restaurant-goers are smart enough, I believe, to be able to discern if a menu item is loaded with calories. Government mandating that restaurants give this information, that will only increase their costs, and will probably not have a significant impact on eating habits, is just plain wrong.
My wife listens to smooth jazz station WJZX (106.9 FM) on her way to work every morning and morning host Ramsey Lewis, jazz legend. Each morning, Lewis has a brief segment on food and drink called, “Wining and Dining.”
Jennifer says that on a few occasions, a few days after one of my Culinary no-no postings, Lewis has discussed the same topics addressed in my blogs. He’s done it, according to Jennifer, at least twice: the moratorium on new fast food restaurants in Los Angeles and chocolate-covered bacon.
I’d be flattered if the legendary Ramsey Lewis or his staff was reading This Just In…
Of course, it’s entirely possible that great minds think alike.
But if Lewis is one of the many who read the ever-popular Culinary no-no, he’s definitely in with “The In Crowd.”
Saturday night, James Rhiner resigned his positions on the Franklin Community Development Authority (CDA) , Economic Development Commission (EDC), and as a member of the EDC, his position on the 27th Street Corridor Steering Committee. Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor has accepted Rhiner’s resignation. Here is Rhiner’s resignation letter:
August 30, 2008
Mr, Tom Taylor, Mayor
City of Franklin
7014 Elroy Court
Franklin, WI 53132
I would like to inform you of my resignation from the Community Development Authority, the Economic Development Commission and the 27th Street Corridor Steering Committee, effectively immediately.
Please believe me that it was a very difficult decision to make. I have been wrestling with the decision for several months and due to some elements coming together in my personal life I must do so now with no delay.
As you know, I have led a very active life in my affairs at Oak Creek Assembly of God Church. I now find that I am being led to lead an even more active role in my church affairs which will make more demands of my time.
I have been actively involved in the City's Economic Development since 1984. During this time I have spent numerous hours away from my family. My family has sacrificed a good deal because of my absences. I must now place my family as a priority far and away above that of the city. My wife has been very patient with me and it is now my desire to place her and my family as a primary focus in my life.
My business of providing Forensic Electrical and Lighting Engineering Services to the legal, insurance, and manufacturing industries has also increased greatly as of late and I must pay closer attention to it. After all, it does provide my primary income. I am required to travel out of the state and out of the country on many occasions more now than in the past and find that trying to devote the necessary time to the CDA, the EDC, and the 27th Street Steering Committee has turned into a time management impossibility.
Let me assure you, that the reasons that I have given are the only reasons for my decision.
I have enjoyed giving of my time to the City and I feel that the work I did truly benefited the citizens of Franklin. I am very proud of my work in establishing the Franklin Business Park. It is a jewel in all of Wisconsin. I am also proud of my activities in the EDC, Franklin First and Ticknor Reports. I feel that the ground work has been laid for the success of the 27th Street Corridor and hope to be still walking God's great earth when it comes to fruition.
C: Mark Luberda, Aldermen