Columnist Steve Chapman hit the nail on the head when he described menu labeling as “unexamined and unfounded” (“Force-feeding us facts about food,” Commentary, June 25).

Although nutrition activists claim that New York City’s hotly contested ordinance would prevent consumers from gaining millions of pounds each year, they’ve never checked to see if covering menus with calorie counts actually influences consumers to eat less. No one has.

While the justification for menu mandates rests squarely on an assumption, a growing body of evidence casts doubt on that merit.

For instance, researchers at Cornell University found that posted nutrition facts spurred people to eat 31 percent more calories than when they dined free of calorie tallies.

With an unproven measure that targets only a fraction of our food intake, how can legislators justify the imposed costs and possible unintended consequences of menu labeling?

The bottom line is simple: They can’t.

Trice Whitefield

Washington

The writer is a research analyst for the Center for Consumer Freedom.