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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Many of us use food labels to help decide what to cook for dinner and what to avoid. But what can you do when you are eating out?

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing a rule requiring stores to label prepared, unpackaged foods with nutritional information, and if they don’t follow the rules, they could face jail time. But the software to test these foods could be pricy. Even so, some businesses are on board.

“It is a cost that is already on the horizon for us,” said Bethany Rogers, outreach coordinator at Tidal Creek Market.

Rogers says Tidal Creek is willing to invest in new software to keep customers informed.

“Labeling our prepared foods with nutrition information is something that has been a goal of ours,” she said. “We currently do our ingredients lists and allergens. Our customers are really conscientious of what they are eating.”

The FDA says Americans consume about one third of their total calories on foods prepared outside the home. While consumers can find calorie and other nutrition information on most packaged foods that they buy in stores, this labeling is typically unavailable elsewhere.

Some consumers are not convinced the new rule will make a difference.

“I think the people who are reading labels now will keep on reading them,” shopper Mitch Duke said. “I think the people who are not reading labels will keep not reading labels. I do not think it is really going to change anything.”

If the regulation passes, you will not see food labeling everywhere. The rules only apply to stores with at least 20 locations.

The new nutrition labeling falls under the Affordable Care Act. If the information on the labels is not correct, store owners could face jail time.

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