It doesn’t take a PhD in nutrition to know that a pile of pancakes, sausage, bacon and eggs is not a healthy breakfast. Except when it comes to the nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who recently filed a lawsuit against the restaurant chain Denny’s, claiming that its food needs a warning label on its salt content. This media stunt, which is only the latest among many, is simply another step in the group’s quest to dictate what Americans can and cannot eat, one lawsuit and food tax at a time.
The center has developed a habit of using lawsuits, or the threat of them, to shake down companies. Executive Director Michael Jacobson recently remarked, “We used to file all sorts of complaints with the government – but usually nothing happened. Now, when we have told companies that we’re going to sue them, they show up in our office the next week.”
The Denny’s lawsuit is just one part of the center’s broader plan to restrict food choices for all of us. It has filed dozens of press-conference-lawsuits, but despite the out-of-court media circuses it creates, the group has yet to win any major in-court victories. The complaint against Denny’s is similar to a lawsuit the center filed against Kentucky Fried Chicken over trans fat. In that case, nutritional information was provided in KFC, as well as on the Internet, but that didn’t satisfy the center.
Anyone who wants to know the nutritional content of a Grand Slam breakfast can find the information in many Denny’s restaurants and on the company’s Web site. Ironically, the group’s lawsuit was based on the nutrition information from Denny’s Web site.
The center’s anti-salt crusade doesn’t stop with baseless litigation. It seeks extra taxes on salty foods and government regulations on how much salt is allowed in a variety of foods. The group even wants to create a new federal bureaucracy, the FDA Division of Salt Reduction.
Salt shakers aren’t the group’s only target. It is seeking bans or taxes on a wide range of nutrients and foods in its quest to forcefully re-engineer recipes across the country.
Jacobson previously quipped that the group takes pride in “finding something wrong with practically everything.” In May, he testified at a Senate committee hearing in favor of a $1.5 billion national drink tax that would raise the price of soda, sports drinks and other beverages. In the past he’s advocated for taxes on butter, potato chips, whole milk, cheese and meat.
Why do these activists have no qualms about abusing the legal system to push their agendas? The self-anointed “food police” think they know what’s best for everyone.
People eat bacon, sausage, hash browns and eggs because they taste good, not as a part of a weight-loss regimen. The center is truly shameless to sue a restaurant for serving hash browns while “hiding” the sodium content in plain sight on brochures in the restaurant and on the Internet.
Though the group will keep blustering about sodium, its lawsuit should be taken with a grain of salt. Jacobson and others like him will keep suing until our meals are devoid of so much as a hint of flavor. The healthiest thing Americans can do is ignore them.