Statement by CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan on the New FDA Report on Restaurant Foods and Obesity

June 2, 2006

Restaurant foods play an increasingly important role in the American diet, and any serious discussion about obesity has to take that into consideration. I hope this collaborative effort organized by the Food and Drug Administration through the Keystone Center signals that the restaurant industry is increasingly willing to be part of the solution, and that government policymakers will increase their scrutiny of the industryís practices and promises.

A major recommendation of this report is that restaurants provide nutrition information in a standard format thatís easily accessible and easy to use when people are making purchasing decisions. Thatís something thatís sorely lacking today. Fortunately, lawmakers in Congress and in more than a dozen states have introduced proposals to require calories on fast-food menu boards and expanded nutrition information on chain restaurantsí printed menus.

Eighty percent of Americans say they want nutrition information available for all menu items at restaurants. Menu labeling would help consumers make informed choices and would encourage restaurants to offer more nutritious options. Perhaps McDonaldís might reconsider its 1,160-calorie chocolate milkshakes, Dennyís its 1,000- calorie breakfast platters, and the Cheesecake Factory its 1,560-calorie slices of carrot cake.


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