Tobacco Lawyer Targets Fatty Food Distributors

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Tobacco Lawyer Targets Fatty Food Distributors

WASHINGTON -- Led by the law professor behind the litigation against the tobacco industry, a new lawsuit aims at holding the food industry responsible for the nation's obesity epidemic, according to a report in the Detroit News.

And fast-food chains and food-producing conglomerates are running scared. "You just don't have the money to fight nuisance lawsuits," said Don Payne, owner of Family Buggy Restaurants in suburban Detroit. "So it is obviously scary."

Efforts already are under way in Washington and among state legislatures to limit such lawsuits, with advocates saying the lawsuits could bankrupt food-related businesses and restrict Americans' food choices.

Pushing the legal fight is George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, who has dedicated himself to doing for Americans' waistlines what he helped do for their lungs, the report stated.

The food industry could avoid the fate of the tobacco industry by providing healthier food options and revealing more about their contents, said Banzhaf. This would undermine lawyers' efforts to argue their clients were essentially hoodwinked into overeating fatty foods, according to the Detroit News.

Jim Eggl, owner of Hector & Jimmy's Restaurant in Milford, Mich., said people need to eat responsibly, rather than expect him to cut them off or pay to detail every calorie on his menu.

"I had a guest one time complain about heavy cream in the Alfredo sauce," Eggl recalls. "And then when he got done eating a salad, he ate a hot fudge sundae," the Detroit News reported.