(CNSNews.com) - The so-called "food police" are applauding Ruby Tuesday for becoming the first restaurant chain to put nutrition information on its menus.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest said Ruby Tuesday also plans to add more healthful foods to its menus and fry in "trans-fat-free" cooking oil.
"Ruby Tuesday stands head and shoulders above its competitors when it comes to nutrition," said Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for CSPI.
"Ruby Tuesday is proving that the restaurant industry's lobbyists are wrong when they claim that it's impractical to provide nutrition information on menus." Wootan added.
"Most chains have standardized menus with carefully controlled (if overly large) portions. All large chain restaurants can do this, and they should."
CSPI said that ideally, Ruby Tuesday would go a step further - listing "saturated-plus-trans-fat," the kind of fat that is said to be bad for one's heart, as well as sodium levels and real carbohydrate content.
"But despite those details, Ruby Tuesday's announcement is a historic first, and we urge Applebee's, Chili's, Outback, and other large chains to follow suit," CSPI said in a press release.
Given the threat of lawsuits filed by obese consumers, restaurants are scrambling to accommodate demands for more healthful entrees and nutrition information.
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill protecting restaurants and food companies from lawsuits filed by people who blame the food industry for their weight problems.
Such lawsuits are nothing more than "regulation through litigation," said the American Tort Reform Association, which is urging lawmakers to pass the "Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act."
"The House of Representatives has an opportunity to make a major public policy statement that the regulation of food is a legislative or regulatory agency responsibility - not a newly created enterprise for small segments of the personal injury bar," said Sherman Joyce, president of the American Tort Reform Association.
See Earlier Story:
Don't Let 'Big Food' off the Hook, Activist Group Says (9 Mar. 2004)