Lawsuit aims to chop menu info

A federal lawsuit served up by fast-food chains is threatening to nix San Francisco’s plan to require chain restaurants to list nutritional information on their menus.

The California Restaurant Association, which represents chains including McDonald’s and Burger King, filed the lawsuit late Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco against both The City and its Public Health Department.

The complaint seeks to invalidate the menu labeling ordinance, which goes into effect Sept. 20, claiming it is unconstitutional. The law requires restaurants with more than 20 locations statewide to post calories, carbohydrates, fat and sodium on their menu.

On Monday, California Restaurant Association President Jot Condie said the San Francisco ordinance was inflexible and would hurt local restaurateurs. Condie said the issue should be handled at the state-level to avoid a vexing patchwork of local laws.

A municipality having a menu labeling law that differs from a neighboring municipality’s law creates a lot of confusion, not only for restaurants but consumers, Condie said.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the 59-page lawsuit was nearly as bloated as Burger King’s Triple Whopper Sandwich with Cheese.

“I think it’s outrageous that fat-peddling chain restaurants are asserting a First Amendment right to keep consumers uninformed about the nutritional contents of their menu items,” Herrera said in a statement.

The City’s menu-labeling ordinance does not ban or restrict a single food, it requires that consumers have better data to make choices. City attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey said he was encouraged by the failure of a similar challenge to New York’s menu labeling law in April. In that case, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Holwell held that the city’s ordinance is not pre-empted by federal law and does not violate the First Amendment.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Video surfaces amid George Floyd death fallout showing SF police kneeling on man’s neck

Teen says he struggled to breathe during arrest: ‘I felt like I was going to die’

Mayor Breed declares curfew after anti-police brutality march ends in looting, vandalism

Mayor London Breed announced a curfew Saturday night and asked the National… Continue reading

‘Extremely disturbing’: SF police chief condemns death of George Floyd

Bill Scott joins SFPOA, top cops nationwide in deeming incident a failure of policing

Haight Street group drops ties with prominent pro-Trump attorney

Amoeba, other merchants filed lawsuit seeking to block ‘Safe Sleeping’ site on Stanyan

CCSF board votes to close Fort Mason campus

College dropping lease on waterfront site to help close projected deficit

Most Read