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Health Highlights: March 12, 2013

Menu Calorie Count Labeling a 'Thorny' Issue: FDA Commissioner NYC Mayor Continues Push for Super-Sized Sugary Drink Ban

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Menu Calorie Count Labeling a 'Thorny' Issue: FDA Commissioner

The process of writing a new law for including calories on menus "has gotten extremely thorny" as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tries to determine which businesses should be covered by it, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says.

Under the 2010 health care law, restaurants and other businesses that serve prepared food will be required to have calorie counts on menus and in vending machines. The FDA issued proposed rules in 2011, but a final version has been delayed due to strong opposition from some sectors, the Associated Press reported.

The restaurant industry has accepted the concept and helped to write the new rules, but supermarkets, convenience stores and other businesses that sell prepared food are putting up a fight.

Menu labeling has become one of the FDAs most challenging issues, Hamburg told the AP. While calorie counts on menus in some types of stores might make sense on paper, "in practice it really would be very hard," she said.

The FDA has said the final rules are due this spring.

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NYC Mayor Continues Push for Super-Sized Sugary Drink Ban

After a last-minute court ruling that halted New York City's ban on super-sized sodas and other sugary drinks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the proposed law as a pioneering anti-obesity measure and said the city expects to win on appeal.

He also urged eateries to comply with the proposed law's provisions out of concern for their customers' health, the Associated Press reported.

"If you know what you're doing is harmful to people's health, common sense says if you care, you might want to stop doing that," Bloomberg said.

The 16-ounce size limit for sodas and other sugary drinks was to take effect Tuesday, but was struck down late Monday by State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling. He ruled that the restriction was arbitrary because it applies only to some sugary drinks and certain places that sell them, the AP reported.

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