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August 30, 1971

With the Compliments of the Chef

JAMA. 1971;217(9):1238. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190090060013

In its 1970 Report, the Inter-Society Commission for Heart Disease Resources1 urges the Food and Drug Administration to compel manufacturers to stamp food with its content of calories, cholesterol, and saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fat. The labelling need not be overlong. First-letter abbreviations would do, since the public is now hip to the atherogenic potential of these nutrients.

A housewife needs all the guidance she can get, if she is to prepare an edible meal for her "prudently" dieting family. Thus, we have no quarrel with food stamping in stores. But, we must be on guard against extension of this measure to restaurants. The labelling of menus would inflict hardships on chefs, waiters, and patrons. It would also impede the process of food delivery and impair the tradition-hallowed patron-waiter relationship. It might even involve the chef.

Heir to an ageless tradition of gourmandise, the chef would be forced to