The health police are zeroing in on some eateries that they say understate the fat content of their meals and exaggerate food health claims.
"Truth-in-menu labeling is terribly important because half of our food dollars are spent on food consumed away from home," said Bruce Silverglade, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. An estimated one-third of the average person's calories is consumed in restaurants, he said.Public health officials have endorsed the call for accurate labeling on restaurant menus, saying that people with heart disease, diabetes and hypertension in particular need accurate information about what they are eating.
According to the center, the misleading nutritional claims included:
- Bob's Big Boy described its Health Smart Chicken 'n Vegetables Stir Fry Dinner as containing 16 grams of fat, but analysis showed an average of 27 grams.
- Legal Seafoods claims Chinese herbs used in its "Cuisineast" menu can relieve headaches, improve circulation, relieve asthma, improve vision and prevent premature graying of the hair.
- Chili's menu says the Guiltless Fajitas Platter contains 17 grams of fat, while the center's analysis showed an average fat content of 30 grams.
- Tippin's "Lite and Sugar-Free Pies" contain six times the amount of fat permitted in food labeled low-fat.
If you want to submit questionable menu claims or items or comment on the food labeling debate, write CSPI, 1875 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009-5728.