Big Restaurant Chain Offers Scary Seafood Surprise

joe's crab shack

Perhaps it’s no surprise to you that any amount of trans fat is bad– but could meals served up at one of America’s favorite seafood chains carries particularly dangerous amounts of the heart-killing synthetic fat?

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Joe’s Crab Shack is using a partially-hydrogenated margarine-butter blend that carries extremely high levels of trans fat, despite promising to stop using trans fat seven years ago and marching around a “we use zero trans fat oil” disclaimer on their food menus.

Even though trans fats can be blamed for a whopping 20,000 heart attacks each year, Joe’s Crab Shack hasn’t seemed to mind much; below are a few of the obscenely-stuffed trans fat dishes being served up in the chains’ kitchens:

• Joe’s Pasta-laya

Though it’s described as “shrimp and andouille sausage cooked in a garlic butter sauce full of mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions served over penne pasta,” it’s not as great for you as you might think– it carries a sizeable 14 grams of trans fat, which is about the most trans fat a person should consume during the course of a full week, the American Heart Association indicates.

• Crab Cake Dinner

This menu option hides another 14 grams of trans fat– while the Redfish Pontchartrain holds a whopping 16 grams.

• Steampots

These all have at least a week’s worth of trans fat because of the side of dipping “butter.”  The KJ Steampot and Joe’s Great Barrier Steampot, in fact, each contain a walloping 25 grams of trans fat.  

“Joe’s Crab Shack is a nutritional shipwreck of a restaurant chain, ruining expensive seafood with cheap, industrially produced trans fat designed to simulate butter,” admits CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson.  “Until the company fixes the problem and switches to a healthier substitute, eat at Joe’s at your own risk—an increased risk of heart disease and premature death.”

CSPI thinks the trans fat is sourced from the SunGlow product, which is similar in appearance to real butter, but is cheaper and has a longer shelf life.

While partially hydrogenated oil, which is the source of artificial trans fat, isn’t even allowed in most restaurant food in California, New York City, and other cities around the nation, many other restaurants in the country could be serving the stuff in their foods.

The Food and Drug Administration recently admitted that trans fat isn’t safe, which moved many restaurant chains to take action to rid the substance from their foods as quickly as possible. Long John Silvers, in fact, said it could move over to a trans-free fat replacement within six months.

“Joe’s Crab Shack knows it has safer alternatives, and uses them where required—but only where required,” Jacobson quips.  “The behavior of Joe’s and other irresponsible companies shows why the FDA needs to finish its work to eliminate partially hydrogenated oil from the food supply once and for all.”


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