March 25, 2011

Menu Labeling Update, Latino Youth Report On Agenda for Council HHS Committee. Committee Will Meet at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 24

Release ID: 11-075
Release Date: 3/23/2011
Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939 or Delphine Harriston240-777-7931
From: Council Office

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 23, 2011—The Montgomery County Council’s Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday, March 24, will receive an update on the implementation of the County’s program requiring certain chain restaurants to place nutritional information on menus and menu sign boards. The committee also will receive a briefing on a report from the Latino Youth Collaborative Steering Committee that was formed to address the needs of County Latino youth.

The Health and Human Services Committee, which is chaired by George Leventhal and includes Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice, will meet at 9:30 a.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville.

The County’s Department of Health and Human Services will deliver the update on the menu labeling law that took effect on July 1, 2010. Affected restaurants were required to submit implementation plans by Sept. 15 and full compliance was required by Jan. 1. Since that date, the department has had the authority to assess penalties for non compliance.

The law requires certain chain restaurants to disclose the number of calories for each standard item on menus and menu sign boards. Affected restaurants are also required to provide written nutritional information to consumers upon request.

As of March 16, the County conducted 183 inspections of affected restaurants—about 25 percent of the restaurants required to comply with the legislation. The inspections showed that almost half (48 percent) were not complying with the law. When a restaurant is not in compliance, it is given an inspection report and 30 days to correct the violation. If the restaurant does not correct the violation within 30 days, the department works with the restaurant to set a compliance schedule in a “reasonable time frame.” To date, no citations have been issued.
According to 2005 data from the Maryland Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 50.8 percent of Montgomery County residents were overweight or obese.

The Latino Youth Collaborative Steering Committee will go into detail about its December 2010 report called “A Generation of Youth Hanging in the Balance.”

Responding to results of a survey of more than 1,000 Latino youth by Identity, Inc., County Executive Isiah Leggett commissioned the Latino Youth steering committee to develop strategies and action steps for addressing the educational, violence prevention and well-being needs of the County’s Latino youth and their families.

The Identity survey reported pervasive negative feelings and risk factors experienced by survey participants that contribute to negative behavioral outcomes including “high teen pregnancy rates, gang involvement, substance abuse, increased high school drop-out rates, poor academic achievement, youth violence and the ongoing devastation of the Latino family structure.”

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