Desperate Restaurant Chains Sue NYC Over Diners' Right to Know

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

June 15, 2007

McDonald's, Burger King, and the members of the New York State Restaurant Association, with their malevolent lawsuit against the New York City Board of Health, are basically telling New Yorkers that they don't have a right to know what they're eating. This lawsuit is served up with a supersized side order of shamelessness, since this is the very same industry that goes hat-in-hand to state legislatures and Congress asking for special protection from obesity-related lawsuits.

The New York City Board of Health was absolutely right to require certain large restaurant chains to put calorie counts on menu boards. When it goes into effect this measure will be of enormous help to New Yorkers who are watching their weight, or trying to make healthy choices for their children. What does the industry have to fear, other than the fact that some people might get medium sodas instead of large, or regular hamburgers instead of Triple Whoppers? Or, heaven forbid, that restaurants actually compete on the basis of nutrition, and begin to offer more items with fewer calories and more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables?

To claim that nutrition labeling is a violation of the First Amendment is to throw the Constitution into a fryolator until it's crispy. I trust that New York City will mount a vigorous defense and that the judge remands Ronald McDonald into custody for contempt of public health.


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