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Starbucks Set To Post Calorie Counts

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NEW YORK - AUGUST 5:  Beverage cups featuring the logo of Starbucks Coffee are seen in the new flagship store on 42nd Street August 5, 2003 in New York City. The Seattle-based coffee company has emerged as the largest food chain in the Manhattan borough of New York with 150 outlets.  (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — How ‘skinny’ is a skinny vanilla latte? Starbucks is ready to tell you.

The Seattle-based coffee chain says it will start posting calorie counts on menu boards nationwide next week, ahead of a federal regulation that would require it to do so.

Calorie counts on menus are already required in some parts of the country, including New York City.

But starting June 25, Starbucks Corp. says customers at its more than 10,000 U.S. locations will be able to see that there are 300 calories in a small caramel Frappuccino and 230 calories in a small Iced Caffe Mocha.

Pastry cases will also show calorie information, in case customers want to save some calories and opt for a Morning Bun (350 calories) instead of a blueberry scone (460 calories).

The move by Starbucks comes as the Food and Drug Administration irons out the details of a regulation that would require companies with more than 20 locations to post calorie information on their menus. Other chains including McDonald’s Corp. have also moved ahead with posting the information, saying they’re providing it to be more transparent rather than because they’re being forced to.

In its announcement, Starbucks highlighted the various steps it has taken over the years to give customers choices, such as adding sugar-free syrup in 1997 and making 2 percent milk the standard for core beverages in North America in 2007.

The company notes that it already provides nutrition information on its website, through its iPhone app and with printed brochures in cafes. It also says there are numerous ways people can reduce the calories in their drinks, such as by asking for non-fat milk, sugar-free syrup or no whipped cream.

It’s not clear how posted calorie counts affect what people choose to order. But in announcing its plans to post calorie information nationwide last year, the head of McDonald’s USA at the time said that providing the information doesn’t really change the company’s overall menu mix.

While a few national chains already put calorie information on their menus, a “large majority” are waiting for the FDA to issue its final guidelines, according to Sue Hensley, a spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association.

The decision comes on the heels of new policy which requires smokers to stand at least 25 feet away from the business when lighting up. The policy took effect on June 1.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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