VeggieBoards banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,014 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know here in America, there are laws against false advertising, and laws requiring food product labels to be accurate. But what about restaurant menus? Aren't those required by law to be accurate, also?

I'm sure restaurants can't label foods "heart healthy" without meeting certain requirements. Are there any similar laws about other claims on menus, such as the claim that something is vegetarian? If not, shouldn't there be?

I bring this up after reading the "Stupid things omnivores say" thread, and several other things online, and seeing several stories of people seeing menu items labeled vegetarian at restaurants, only to discover fish, chicken broth, beef broth, and even bacon in them.

--Fromper

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,260 Posts
To the best of my knowledge, a restaurant could label a beef steak "vegetarian" and not break any laws. I am sure it also varies by state and city.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
yeah, people can say whatever they want because somewhere, someone is out there who claims to be vegetarian however they eat some sort of animal anyone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by GothicCandle View Post

yeah, people can say whatever they want because somewhere, someone is out there who claims to be vegetarian however they eat some sort of animal anyone.
agree I was in a restaurant with my fiancee the other day and the waiter was shocked that I didnt eat fish..I was the first Veggie that her ever met that didnt...He even dated a veggie for six months and she ate fish and chicken and pork sometimes...Well I said to him that she wasnt a veggie and he disagreed...yeah okay whatever you say
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenni-anti-fur View Post

agree I was in a restaurant with my fiancee the other day and the waiter was shocked that I didnt eat fish..I was the first Veggie that her ever met that didnt...He even dated a veggie for six months and she ate fish and chicken and pork sometimes...Well I said to him that she wasnt a veggie and he disagreed...yeah okay whatever you say
yeah those people are so annoying. people! vegetarian look it up "one who does not eat animals" end of story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,014 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by GothicCandle View Post

yeah those people are so annoying. people! vegetarian look it up "one who does not eat animals" end of story.
Actually, the definition is a little more complex (and clear) than that. Here's the first (and best, IMHO) entry at dictionary.com:

Quote:
a person who does not eat or does not believe in eating meat, fish, fowl, or, in some cases, any food derived from animals, as eggs or cheese, but subsists on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain, etc.
In fact, 8 listings for the word vegetarian on dictionary.com, and they all get it right, or at least not blatantly wrong. The definition of "an individual who believes in or practices vegetarianism", without defining vegetarianism, struck me as a little weird.

But back to the original topic. I was curious enough to post my question to a free online legal advice board. I'll let you all know what type of response I get. I actually suspect that this sort of thing is against the law, but nobody realizes it, because the law is never enforced.

--Fromper

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
590 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenni-anti-fur View Post

agree I was in a restaurant with my fiancee the other day and the waiter was shocked that I didnt eat fish..I was the first Veggie that her ever met that didnt...He even dated a veggie for six months and she ate fish and chicken and pork sometimes...Well I said to him that she wasnt a veggie and he disagreed...yeah okay whatever you say
hahaha i hate these people soo much. I guess it makes them feel better about themselves or something. whatever.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,014 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, so I got a response from LawGuru.com.

Here's the question I asked (intentionally keeping it very general):

Quote:
I know there are laws requiring store bought foods to be labeled properly. What about restaurant menus? Is it legal for menus to have a blatant lie on them?

For instance, can a salad with bacon in it be labeled ''vegetarian'' or ''kosher'' when it clearly isn't either of those things? Are there specific standards that a menu must meet? Where can I find a list of the details of those standards, if such a thing exists?
And here's the response from a lawyer in New Orleans:

Quote:
I'm not aware of standards; you might check with a federal or state agency. But lying on a menue will open the restaurant to liabilty of harm resulting from the lie.
So how do you measure the harm caused by a vegetarian accidentally eating meat, if they don't actually get sick? Exactly. Suing the restaurant would be pointless.



So apparently, you were right. They can put whatever they want on the menu, and it doesn't have to be true. I find it very odd that this wouldn't be covered under false advertising or truth in packaging laws.

--Fromper
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
Quote:
Suing the restaurant would be pointless.
I'm not so sure it would be pointless. With a good enough lawyer I believe there could be avenues of pursuit. It wouldn't be cheap though.

I would think you would have a shot at 'emotional damages' if you had been a vegetarian for years and years and then they fed you meat even though the menu said it didn't have any in it.

There was the much publicized case against McDonalds for such a thing. Google vegetarian lawsuit and you'll find results for this case. A quote from an article I found reads :

Quote:
24 groups that filed a class-action suit against McDonald's will receive a total of $10 million. The groups include Hindu, Muslim and vegetarian organizations. The groups' suit claims McDonald's deliberately mislead the public by presenting their french fries as suitable for vegetarians when they were, in fact, prepared with a beef additive for flavoring.
--Determination, A good lawyer, and lots of money--
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,219 Posts
well i know of one member on here that is veg because she has allergies to meat, so they would definitely be open to some liability in a case like that i think
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonoluvr View Post

well i know of one member on here that is veg because she has allergies to meat, so they would definitely be open to some liability in a case like that i think
that can happen? okay now i know. my omni freinds and family have always said that someone could be alergic to meat since you can be alergic to anything but that the likely hood of being alergic to meat was very rare.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,262 Posts
Where I live there is a very popular Chinese resturant with an extensive, separate "vegetarian" menu. Upon my first visit and periodically after that, I would ask various waitresses if the dishes were indeed free of meat or meat sauce. Always "yes."

Then one day I encountered a longtime waitress who had worked at both outlets of the restaurant. When we specifically requested "vegetarian" menus, she asked if we were aware that the restaurant uses CHICKEN and BEEF broth in every one of its dishes and soups, including the "vegetarian" ones.

I felt sick and angry that my family and I had repeatedly eaten their food. I wrote them a letter, but recieved no response. Everytime I think of it, it makes me feel upset.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,049 Posts
There was actually a case on the local news, almost similar to your experience - where a waitress that was unhappy with managment started telling lies to people - saying that the restaurant used *something* (I can't remember what) in their food (like horsemeat or something)... the restaurant sued HER.

Not saying your waitress was wrong, but it's curious that if every single other one had said one thing, and then just one waitress said something else - you might want to check further before taking her word for it.

And hey, keep in mind few employees really read labels... my school cafeteria says their chicken-noodle soup uses "real chicken broth" but when I had an employee bring me the contaner (to check it out for one of my students with a corn allergy) , I found out it oddly, didn't have any animal products in it, just noodles with a lot of sodium, soy, spices and herbs and such! Weird.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,262 Posts
That is a good point. However, a little while before my incident, my dad went to the same place and asked about the sauce. He was told by the waiter to watch out for oyster or chicken sauce in several of the vegetarian products. The waiter explained that he understood my dad's concern because he had veg*n family members.

Another thing is, if the charge was a lie, I'd suppose that the restaurant would have answered my letter (or called me, I provided all contact info) with a denial. Their silence also seems troubling.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top