Bill would require menu labeling in RI

Sometime the food that tastes good is good for you. Sometimes it's not.

To help customers know which is which, the federal health care law requires chain restaurants to tell customers what's in their food and how many calories it has.

But should it be a requirement on a smaller scale in Rhode Island?

"We don't have the scientists. We don't have the corporate headquarters, the manpower," said state Sen. Lou Raptakis, who owns a restaurant.

Raptakis opposes a bill proposed by state Rep. Joy Hearn to have restaurants in Rhode Island inform customers of calories and ingredients in all of their menu offerings.

Critics say the bill is anti-business and would make it more difficult run a restaurant.

"I think I would work diligently to make sure that it's not seen as that," Hearn said.

Hearn said it's the growing incidence of food allergies that spurred the bill, but Raptakis said it's not good business.

"Here we are in a state with high unemployment, a bad business climate, last in the entire country, and we're adding more regulation, especially on the small independent business owners, the mom and pops," Raptakis said.

The bill was held for further study by a House committee.