A consumer supported by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has reportedly filed a putative class action in New Jersey Superior Court, alleging that meals he purchased at Denny’s® restaurants contained “alarmingly large and undisclosed amounts of sodium.” DeBenedetto v. Denny’s Corp., No. ___ (N.J. Super. Ct., filed July 23, 2009). At issue are menu items such as Moons Over My Hammy, Spicy Buffalo Chicken Melt and Meat Lover’s Scramble, which purportedly contain sodium levels that exceed the daily recommended limit of 1,500 mg.

According to the complaint, “Denny’s menu deceptively presents various items as single meals to be consumed by one individual without disclosing that they contain substantially more sodium (in some case two or three times more) than the maximum recommended amount for all meals consumed by an individual during the day.”

The class action “seeks to compel Denny’s restaurants to disclose on menus the amount of salt and to place a notice on its menus warning about high sodium levels,” according to a July 23, 2009, CSPI press release. “By concealing an important material fact about its products – namely, that these foods have disease-promoting levels of sodium – Denny’s is failing its responsibility to its customers and is in violation of the laws of New Jersey and several other states,” CSPI Litigation Director Steve Gardner was quoted as saying.

Denny’s Corp. has since issued a statement noting that nutritional information and alternative menu selections are already available to consumers. “With hundreds of items on the menu, Denny’s offers a wide variety of choices for consumers with different lifestyles, understanding that many have special dietary needs,” stated the July 23 press release.

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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