On this day when the rest of us are preparing for some time off, the PR team at Long John Silver’s must be hard at work.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has declared the fast food chain’s Big Catch “the worst meal in America.” The Big Catch is a battered and fried piece of haddock fish and two side dishes. The side dish choices are green beans, hush puppies, onion rings, coleslaw, French fries, rice or corn.
Lab tests on the meal with the onion rings and hush puppies show that it has 33 grams of trans fat (more than two weeks worth), 19 grams of saturated fat, 3,700 milligrams of sodium, and 1,320 calories. My stomach hurts just typing that.
The CSPI says the restaurant isn’t completely honest about the nutritional facts of this meal; their claims that there’s seven to eight ounces of fish in the Big Catch are wrong. Rather it’s “60% haddock, 40% butter and grease.” Now I’m gagging.
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, the restaurant said, “Long John Silver’s offers a variety of meal choices including baked fish and shrimp that can satisfy almost every diner’s dietary choices. We stand behind our published food data and will review any requests from CSPI that raise questions about our data.”
A statement on the restaurant’s website reiterates its intentions to look into the data, but also makes sure to mention how delicious and cost-conscious the meal is. It reads like the PR equivalent of a deer in the headlights — caught by surprise and scared, they fell back on keywords that have nothing whatsoever to do with the CSPI’s findings, which basically say this meal can cause the diner bodily harm. The American Heart Association says you should have a max of two grams of trans fat per day, and the Institute of Medicine says you should top out at 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. The CSPI threatens to sue if the chain continues to use partially hydrogenated oil in the deep fryers or erroneously report the amount of fish used.
According to the Long John Silver’s statement, the Big Catch is only available for a limited time. So perhaps time will run out on this meal sooner than expected.