Restaurant foods are raising new worries amongst consumer activists and nutrition experts in Australia because of the frying oils they are using regularly in preparing various foods. Already high levels of fat in these products which give high sensory satisfaction are implicated in uncontrolled obesity epidemic and added to this presence of trans fatty acids in some of the foods is of grave concern. Restaurant sector has some how escaped the scrutiny of food authorities and except in some places, the nutritional quality of the foods served is a matter of conjecture.
"Of particular concern to the foundation is the amount of fat consumed outside the home, with restaurants immune from food labelling laws. We've become so particular in the supermarket, but when we eat out we have no idea what our food is being cooked in. There is a lack of transparency about what's going into a lot of our food. While some companies, such as McDonald's, Unilever and Goodman Field, have voluntarily switched to healthier oils, an increase in the amount of cheap imported palm oil, from 113,000 tonnes in 2003 to 130,000 tonnes in 2007, showed the industry as a whole was resisting change".
While restaurants can be made to display in broader terms the nutritional profile of the preparations served by them, how far this will help the consumer is a moot question. After all "eating out" is considered a change for the whole family and taste guides the selection more than the composition. The report quoted above indicts palm oil as a cheap one but castigating it as a non-healthy oil is not acceptable and the bias against this oil from Asia is apparent!