California serves up new menu info law

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Chain restaurants in California are offering a little something extra today. It's the kind of nutritional information you usually find on boxes and cans in the supermarket.

A new state law requires restaurant chains with at least 20 outlets to print brochures with calorie, saturated fat, sodium and other details about menu offerings.

Lara Diaz Dunbar of the California Restaurant Association said her organization opposed the bill at first because its members balked at the cost of hiring nutritionists to evaluate their menu offerings. But she says the CRA went along after the menu law sponsors agreed to phase in the ways restaurants can display calorie counts and other data.

Lara Diaz Dunbar: "You have several ways to comply prior to 2011, and one of which is to offer a brochure. It’s directly on the table or at the stand. At drive-thrus, it would be available upon request or you could post them directly on menus or on the menu board."

By 2011, chain restaurants will have to include nutrition data on menus.