Thursday, November 08, 2007

Quiznos posts nutrition facts information

After several years of refusing to respond to consumer requests for nutrition facts information, the Quiznos restaurant chain recently began posting such information on the corporate website. Until now, Quiznos was the largest national restaurant chain that would not share nutrition facts information for most of its products online or in response to consumer queries.

It is not clear exactly when the nutrition facts were first posted. Apparently, this news has not been reported elsewhere yet. I first read about it from a comment yesterday on U.S. Food Policy (thanks Melissa!).

The federal government's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages restaurants to post nutrition information on a voluntary basis, but federal rules do not require such disclosure. Yet, the federal government's beef checkoff advertising program -- sponsors of the "beef check" symbol and the slogan "Beef. It's What's for Dinner" -- has participated in at least two partnerships with Quiznos to promote high-calorie high-fat beef sandwiches. My efforts to request more information about these promotions from USDA, the Beef Board, and Quiznos have been stonewalled in the past.

Finally, U.S. Food Policy can report the nutrition facts information for a large Quiznos Steakhouse Beef Dip Sub with cheese and dressing, pictured below in a print ad endorsed by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (notice the beef check symbol in the corner indicating the federal government endorsement):
  • 1030 calories
  • 480 calories fat
  • 55 grams fat
  • 11.5 grams saturated fat
  • 70 miligrams cholesterol
  • 2415 miligrams sodium.
To find this information on the Quiznos website, one must go to the company's menu page, then click on a small link at the bottom to "Show Nutrition Information," then click on a particular product, then click on "large," and then click the two selection boxes for the sauces (even though I have been served the sauces as standard parts of the sandwich... oops, did I just admit eating there? ... well, it was part of this investigation).

A rule proposed in New York City would require chain restaurants to post calorie information on menu boards. After a court challenge from restaurants, this proposal is currently under revision and may yet be put into practice. In a sensible effort to avoid burdening independent restaurants and even small chains, the new rule was at first designed to apply only to restaurants who already share nutrition facts information for their standardized products. Reporters covering this controversy had commented on the fact that, paradoxically, this effort might allow a chain like Quiznos to avoid the impact of the new rule. A revised version of the New York City rule would more clearly apply to Quiznos along with other chain restaurants.

Update 11/9/2007: See also the news coverage and additional data at Fast Food News.


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