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Vegetarians in Paradise
Vegetarianism in the News


March 1, 2003 -- Vegparadise News Bureau


Say No to IN-N-OUT BURGER


"Say No to IN-N-OUT BURGER" is the slogan of a campaign to discourage libraries from offering hamburgers as rewards to children for reading books. The campaign, organized by Vegetarians in Paradise has targeted libraries in the three states where the fast food chain has outlets: California, Arizona, and Nevada.

IN-N-OUT Burger In letters to the libraries, VIP co-editors Zel and Reuben Allen question whether free hamburgers distributed by IN-N-OUT BURGER are a proper reward to encourage reading. VIP points out the negative health aspects of fast food meals as well as the questionable practice of targeting children in an advertising campaign that is sanctioned by the libraries. The letter also focuses on childhood obesity with specific information on the fat, sodium, and cholesterol in an IN-N-OUT meal.

"We find it hard to comprehend that libraries allow themselves to be used in a blatant marketing campaign directed at children," say the VIP editors. "In an era where so many children are obese, the library has put its stamp of approval on products contributing to that obesity. Since a parent or guardian must accompany the award winner, it seems like the library is a shill to bring entire families into IN-N-OUT BURGER to sample its wares."

VIP also wrote to Esther Snyder, President of IN-N-OUT, asking her to discontinue the program. Copies of both letters appear below this article.

In its "Food for Thought" program IN-N-OUT distributes cards, rubber stamps, and Achievement Award certificates to the participating libraries. When children come to the libraries, they pick up cards on which they list the titles of books read. These cards are then stamped with a rubber stamp that shows an open book with IN-N-OUT BURGER written beneath the book.

After reading five books, a child receives an Achievement Award that must be signed by the librarian. In a perforated tear-off at the bottom of the award is a coupon that must be stamped by the librarian. The coupon is signed by Esther L. Snyder, co-founder of the fast food chain with her husband Harry Snyder.

For the children, the most important part of the award is the line that reads, "Congratulations from IN-N-OUT BURGER on your achievement. Present this certificate with our compliments for a FREE HAMBURGER OR CHEESEBURGER."

"There are much better ways to reward children for reading," says VIP co-editor Zel Allen. "Let's nourish their minds with rewards that maintain the dignity and educational impact that libraries have always had. Let's send them home with free books or tickets to concerts, films, or other events. Junk food is not a reward. It's a punishment for their maturing bodies."



February 15, 2003

Mrs. Esther Snyder, President
IN-N-OUT BURGER
13502 Hamburger Lane
Baldwin Park, CA 91706

Dear Mrs. Snyder:

We are truly horrified that your company would offer hamburgers and cheeseburgers to young children to encourage them to read. Amazing to us is that libraries would willingly participate with your organization's "Food for Thought" campaign that targets your company's advertising at children and is potentially damaging to their health and well being.

As a method for encouraging reading, "Food for Thought" is not as effective as it appears, but as an advertising strategy it is probably very successful. Essentially the program is an honor system where the child lists five book titles to receive his coupon. Librarians have little time or inclination to check the veracity of the child's list before they stamp and sign the Achievement award and present the coupon for a free cheeseburger or hamburger. The child then brings the coupon stamped by the librarian and signed by you to a local IN-N-OUT BURGER. By indicating that a parent or guardian must accompany the award winner, IN-N-OUT is able to bring entire families into its restaurants.

Most frightening is that by giving out these awards, libraries are benefiting your company by placing their stamp of approval on the products offered by IN-N-OUT BURGER. Not only will the child eat a burger during the visit, but will probably also have a drink and some French fries to complete a meal loaded with saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. A look at the nutritional information of that meal helps to explain why young children are future candidates for chronic diseases.

In its position paper "Dietary Guidance for Healthy Children Aged 2 to 11 Years" issued in 1999, the American Dietetic Association states, "Excessive intake of fat, especially saturated fat, has been associated with subsequent development of chronic diseases, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and colon cancer."

In data provided on your company's website, we calculated that in one meal, comprised of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, the child could conceivably exceed or equal the amounts of calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium for an entire day. The optimum calories for an adult woman per day is 2000, while the number for an adult man is 2500. This IN-N-OUT meal provides 1570 calories, slightly over three-quarters of a day's recommended calorie intake for an adult woman. The fat totals 85 grams, far above the daily recommendation of 65. The saturated fat adds up to 39, almost twice the recommended high of 20. The sodium total is 1595 milligrams or 66% of the daily value. Children's consumption should be far less than these figures.

We do not have a problem with rewarding children for reading. We only question the type of reward. The end does not justify any means. As an alternative, we suggest that IN-N-OUT and libraries explore other rewards to encourage reading. Why not give books as rewards or tickets to films, concerts, or other attractions? If IN-N-OUT is truly interested in encouraging young people to read and in promoting libraries, the company can make contributions to the libraries instead of engaging in a shameful marketing ploy.

We strongly urge your company to discontinue the "Food for Thought" program!

Sincerely,

Zel and Reuben Allen, Co-editors
Vegetarians in Paradise, a monthly online vegetarian magazine
http://www.vegparadise.com
E-mail: vegparadise@vegparadise.com




IN-N-OUT Burger Coupon
February 10, 2003

Ms. Susan Kent, City Librarian
Los Angeles Public Library
630 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Dear Ms. Kent:

After reading reports that classify 25% of the young people in California as obese, we find it inconceivable that the public libraries would maintain an alliance with a fast food chain to promote that chain's products.

During the last few years libraries have jointly participated with IN-N-OUT BURGER in a campaign to encourage reading by rewarding young people with free hamburgers or cheeseburgers.

In order to receive the hamburger or cheeseburger, the child must read five books. The child then brings an Achievement Award stamped and signed by the librarian to a local IN-N-OUT BURGER. A parent or guardian must accompany the award winner. Obviously, the librarian is acting as a shill to bring entire families into IN-N-OUT BURGER to sample its wares.

Most frightening is that by giving out these awards, the library is placing its stamp of approval on the products offered by IN-N-OUT BURGER. Not only will the child eat a burger during the visit, but will probably also have a drink and some French fries. A look at the nutritional information of that meal helps to explain why young children are future candidates for chronic diseases. In its position paper "Dietary Guidance for Healthy Children Aged 2 to 11 Years" issued in 1999 the American Dietetic Association states, "Excessive intake of fat, especially saturated fat, has been associated with subsequent development of chronic diseases, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and colon cancer."

That free burger weighs in with 390 calories and contains 19 grams of fat, 5 of them saturated. The fat represents 30% of the recommended daily value. The cheeseburger has 480 calories with 27 grams of fat, 10 of them saturated. The cheeseburger's fat is 41% of the recommended daily value. The hamburger has 640 milligrams of sodium while the cheeseburger has 1000 milligrams. The daily allowance of salt recommended by the Food and Drug Administration is 2400 milligrams. The hamburger boasts 40 milligrams of cholesterol while the cheeseburger exceeds that with 60 milligrams.

If the young person completes the meal with fries and a shake, he or she will add more calories, cholesterol, fat, and sodium. An order of French fries adds another 400 calories to the meal and 245 more milligrams of sodium. The fries add 18 grams of fat, 5 of them saturated. Fortunately, there is no cholesterol. Completing the meal with a chocolate shake adds 690 more calories plus 36 grams of fat, 24 of them saturated. The shake also adds 95 milligrams of cholesterol and 350 milligrams of sodium.

In one meal comprised of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake the child could conceivably exceed or equal the amounts of calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium for an entire day. The optimum calories for an adult woman per day is 2000, while the number for an adult man is 2500. This IN-N-OUT meal provides 1570 calories, slightly over three-quarters of a day's recommended calorie intake for an adult woman. The fat totals 85 grams, far above the daily recommendation of 65. The saturated fat adds up to 39, almost twice the recommended high of 20. The sodium total is 1595 milligrams or 66% of the daily value. Children's consumption should be far less than these figures.

We do not have a problem with rewarding children for reading. We only question the type of reward. The end does not justify any means. As an alternative, we suggest the library explore other rewards to encourage reading. Why not give books as rewards or tickets to films, concerts, or other attractions? If IN-N-OUT is truly interested in encouraging young people to read and in promoting libraries, the company can make contributions to the libraries instead of engaging in a shameful marketing ploy.

We strongly urge all libraries to end this unsatisfactory alliance that only serves to endanger the health of young people in the community. Say No to IN-N-OUT BURGER!

Sincerely,

Zel and Reuben Allen, Co-editors
Vegetarians in Paradise, a monthly online vegetarian magazine
http://www.vegparadise.com
E-mail: vegparadise@vegparadise.com


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