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Jonathan Chan stands next to a touch-screen TV-monitor, with information about McDonald's menu items that he installed at his McDonald's restaurant located at 550 Centennial in Richardson, Texas, on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. (Michael Ainsworth/Dallas Morning News/MCT)
Thursday, March 15, 2012

Restaurants serve up nutrition data

DALLAS – Here’s a math quiz: If you’re trying to cut down on your daily sodium, will that quarter-pound cheeseburger push you over your limit? The answer from most consumers: I don’t really know.

Customers at a franchised McDonald’s in Richardson, Texas, can find out with a new interactive touch screen that displays nutritional information on all standard menu items.

The display, described as the first in a U.S. McDonald’s, satisfies consumers’ hunger for nutritional data now. It launches as the federal government continues to mull guidelines for how all major restaurant chains should feed customers the facts about fats, calories and cholesterol.

“I am trying to take the lead and be transparent,” said Jonathan Chan, who owns three Dallas-area McDonald’s, including a redesigned outlet that houses the new display system. “Consumers are really very interested in this information.”

The 2010 Affordable Health Care Act included a requirement that all restaurant chains with 20 or more locations post calorie counts on the menu or menu board, including in the drive-through lane.

It also requires food service operators to make other nutritional information, such as fat, sodium and cholesterol content, available upon request.