Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
One requirement in the new federal health care law is that restaurants with more than 20 outlets must disclose calorie counts on their menu items. Although smaller, non-chains don't share these requirements, the Buffalo News reports that Erie County, N.Y., is launching a program to supply nutritional information to customers of locally owned restaurants. The health initiative will use a software program to analyze menu items' calorie counts, along with other nutritional information such as fat and salt content. The first 200 establishments to sign up for the program will have the nutritional information of four menu items analyzed for free. Restaurants who want additional items analyzed can do so by paying for the additional services themselves. Funded by a $25,000 community wellness grant from the state, the project is a collaborative effort by the county Health Department and the New York State Restaurant Association.