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Jason’s Deli: What’s Healthy & What’s Not

Jason’s Deli is one of the places my family loves to eat. When I would come home from college to visit, we would go there all the time. We’d have sandwiches, soup, salad, those little free mini corn and gingerbread muffins and free ice cream at the end of every visit. The prices were economical which suited my Dad’s frugality and the location was super convenient. But as soon as I started figuring out what was in restaurant food, my trips to Jason’s Deli stopped. I didn’t really have a specific reason other than the fact that home prepared meals tasted better and made me feel great – much better than the days I would go out to eat.


Jason’s Deli is a very popular choice for a lot of people out there, not just my family, so I thought it would be crucial to investigate their food. Besides, many of you have asked for this specific investigation on facebook for quite some time now… so with no further delay, here’s what I found out.

On paper Jason’s Deli appears to have your health in their best interest. Jason’s Deli was the first major restaurant chain to eliminate transfat and high fructose corn syrup. They recently claimed to have eliminated MSG too (we will address that later) and 1/5 of Jason’s Deli menu is organic – an absolutely staggering statistic considering the size of the menu. They also do not use any artificial colors – another amazing feat considering all the restaurants that still do.

So this begs the question – What other ingredients should you watch out for at Jason’s Deli? What should you still be concerned about? And what’s REAL FOOD and what’s not?

Trying not to be overly exhaustive, I requested the ingredients of a sampling of some of the most popular items on Jason’s Deli’s menu. Requesting the ingredients was easy compared to some of the investigations I have done in the past. There are a couple of ways you can get your hands on the ingredients.  You can call the headquarters and request them, email them or ask in the store. If you ask for the ingredients in the store, it is a quite laborsome for the employees as they have to dig for the packages to show you the ingredients on actual boxes. Unfortunately, they do not have a list in a neatly organized binder. During the several requests I made using all of these methods, Jason’s Deli employees (in the stores and at the headquarters) were amazingly cooperative and made sure I got all the answers I was looking for – a huge win in my book. However, posting their ingredients online for everyone to see would be an even bigger win in transparency, especially considering their tag line “We are all about healthy food.” Until then, I’ve posted the ingredients that I inquired about below, so this can serve as your online guide until they do…. (please note: the ingredients highlighted in red are either potential genetically engineered or GMO ingredients, harmful additives or preservatives – in other words, things no one should willingly want to eat.) 

***Update: After releasing this investigation, Jason’s Deli posted all ingredients online with an Interactive Nutrition Menu – a huge win in transparency!***

Jason’s Deli Ingredients(Sampling of Menu Items)


  • Artesian 9-grain Bread – The first ingredient is refined white flour – (you can tell when you see that vitamins and minerals are added back into the flour and the word “whole” is missing from the front of the word “wheat”). Refined white flour is basically empty calories with zero nutrition, but thankfully they add in a bunch of other whole grains to round out the bread.
  • Whole Grain Bread – Has several questionable ingredients added to it – GMOs in the form of soybean oil, soy lecithin, dextrose etc., caramel powder (which is just a powdered form of caramel color that is considered a carcinogen), and preservatives, along with questionable natural flavors that trick your brain into enjoying a processed product like this more than you should.
  • Croissant – This bread definitely doesn’t come from France considering all the preservatives and dough conditioners it contains, especially the ingredient “azodicarbonamide” which is banned in Europe and if you get caught using it in Singapore you are fined $450,000 dollars – the substance is linked to asthma and allergies.
  • Organic Wheat Wrap – Definitely the best choice on the bread menu.


  • Wild Sockeye Salmon – Any restaurant serving wild salmon over farmed salmon deserves praise, but the additives used here are dreadful. Several ingredients are genetically engineered and “spice extractives” can be a hidden form of MSG
  • Ham – Carrageenan is the most concerning ingredient here, first of all what’s a seaweed by-product even doing in ham? I found out it is used as a “gelling agent” that mimics fat that you would normally find in meat. For low fat meat products, manufacturers add it to “improve texture.” Carrageenan when ingested can start to degrade in the gastrointestinal tract and in the liver and turn into a carcinogen, resulting in a serious inflammatory agent that also can cause intestinal abnormalities.
  • All Natural Chicken Breast – One thing I would like to mention here is that just because a meat is labeled “natural” doesn’t mean it’s free from GMOs. By the looks of the ingredients here, this would be the best meat option to get, however you have to realize the chickens were likely fed GMO corn and soy – not the healthiest diet. Personally I would avoid meat all together and go vegetarian for this reason.
  • Roast Beef, Chicken Salad – I would avoid both of these choices – there are GMOs, hidden MSG (hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed corn gluten, and/or autolyzed yeast extract) and caramel color. What’s so bad about caramel color, you ask? It’s not the type of caramel you make at home by cooking sugar. This caramel color is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creates carcinogenic compounds proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice.


  • Chili, Southwest Chicken Chili, Organic Vegetable Soup – This is where Jason’s Deli really messes up. And it wouldn’t be a stretch to say their “No MSG” message in their marketing is a total lie if you read between the lines. As you have noticed above, there is hidden MSG in several different meat products, as well as all of their soups – including the organic vegetable soup in the form of “autolyzed yeast paste.” The amount of MSG that restaurants can put in your food is not regulated and having a “No MSG” label is extremely misleading if they replace MSG with other forms that cause the same health issues. MSG is an excitotoxin that “if given in large enough doses” can excite brain cells to deathMSG can cause adverse reactions in some people including “skin rashes, itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, migraine headaches, asthma, heart irregularities, depression and even seizures.” Additionally, MSG is an ingredient added to different recipes so your brain remembers a taste combined with the smell of a food. Food scientists use it to create addiction. Bottom line, it doesn’t belong in food considering the obesity crisis in this country. 


  • “Homemade Ranch” – Looking at the ingredients above, you can see that calling this dressing homemade is a complete joke. I don’t have maltodextrin or carrageenan sitting around in my pantry, do you?
  • Organic Balsamic – The best option for dressing
  • Organic French Dressing – Another good option, but not a fan of natural flavoring as mentioned above.
  • Mac & Cheese – Light years ahead of Kraft Mac & Cheese, but still concerning since the cheese used is not guaranteed to be hormone and antibiotic free.
  • Guacamole – Clean of additives. I would use this as a salad dressing.
  • Organic Corn Chips – I found out they use Garden of Eatin’ brand chips, which are GMO free. The only issue I have with these is that they use canola oil, which is not a healthy oil. Over-consumption of oils like canola are causing an abundance of Omega 6 fatty acids in our diets. The imbalance of Omega 6 fatty acids increases the risk of inflammation, heart disease, obesity, and prostate and bone cancer.
  • Pickle – This was a huge bummer. I was excited there were no artificial colors but bummed that the pickles contain sodium benzoate, one of the absolute worst preservatives out there. The Mayo Clinic reported that this preservative increases hyperactivity in children. Also, when sodium benzoate combines with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), it can form benzene, a carcinogen that damages DNA in cells and accelerates aging.


  • Chocolate Chip Cookie & Fudge Brownie (see picture below) – Both of these baked sweets have propylene glycol, the same ingredient that you winterize cars with – antifreeze, and the same ingredient that lubricates condoms. This is definitely not an ingredient I want to end my meal with!


  • Ice Cream – Besides the carrageenan already discussed above, artificial vanilla flavor is manufactured in a factory without using any real vanilla beans, instead it is a by-product of the wood pulp industry. Polysorbate 80, which is in both flavors, is linked to infertility in mice, an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and tumor growth or recurrence in patients with certain types of cancer. An article published about polysorbate 80 found that the agent could cause pregnant woman to go into anaphylactic shock and is harmful to patients with Crohn’s disease. Lastly, the milk products used are not hormone or antibiotic free, this should be enough reason to leave Jason’s Deli without eating the free ice cream.


Given all this information, the obvious question now is…


Straight off the menu, I would feel pretty good about ordering the Nutty Mixed Up Salad (likely without the chicken) and Spinach Veggie Wrap. Also I would excitingly order all the organic vegetables currently available (which are: spinach, mixed greens, apples, carrots and peas) at the salad bar and top it off with a huge side of guacamole and hummus. I’d also get the steamed veggies if I were feeling like I wanted something warm to eat. (Note the zucchini that is offered in the steamed veggies may be GMO since it is not organic.)

For the kids in your life (if ordering off the kid’s menu), I’d go with the Organic Peanut Butter & Jelly or the Organic Grilled Cheese but with organic whole wheat wrap or 9 grain artisanal wheat bread vs. the whole wheat bread that has additives (as discussed above). Organic carrots and organic apples on the side are a wonderful accompaniment too!

I know I stopped going to Jason’s Deli a while back but given the opportunity to dine there again, I wouldn’t think twice. It’s a no brainer – Jason’s Deli blows away the competition when it comes to quick, easy and organic meals without having to visit a grocery store.

If you think this post can help someone make the right decision the next time they visit Jason’s Deli – please share it with them. I want this information to be out there helping as many people as possible who would not otherwise know or understand the ingredients they are eating.

Thank you in advance for spreading the word.


Food Babe

5/1 Update: Just received the ingredients in the famous “free” mini muffins at the salad bar…I would stay far, far away!


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136 responses to “Jason’s Deli: What’s Healthy & What’s Not

  1. I was surprised/pleased/skeptical to see that their ice cream does not have HFCS. My niece has an extreme intolerance to Fructose, so my sister was very happy to be able to allow her daughter to eat freely at Jason’s Deli a year or so ago because they advertised no HFCS, and that is difficult to find in a restaurant. Shortly after eating there however, my niece became incredibly ill. My sister knew that she had eaten HFCS in some form because this is what happens when my niece eats it (vomiting, in addition to extreme bloating and mouth sores). So my sister went back to Jason’s Deli and spoke with the manager. He told my sister that the ice cream actually does have HFCS even though the chain advertises that they do not have it “because it’s impossible to buy ice cream without it.” My sister was of course extremely frustrated and angry and has not been back. Perhaps the manager didn’t know what he was talking about. Perhaps this is one restaurant only. Perhaps they’ve changed their products since that happened, but in any case, I’m skeptical!

    1. WOW…I’m sure they have changed over all restaurants now considering I got these ingredients from the headquarters… but for anyone with that kind of allergy, I would always check directly with each store each time. Glad she is ok now at least… Thanks for sharing your story.

    2. It is not impossible to get ice cream without HFCS, it’s just hard. unless you make it yourself that is.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been waiting for this report since I saw your other reports. Jason’s Deli is the only restaurant that my family goes to, and I was eager to read your report. Thank you for the tip to request the whole wheat wrap. I’m surprised about the organic veggie soup, as I often order that during the winter months.

  3. The organic wheat wrap listed above has sodium bicarbonate listed as an ingredient. Isn’t that bad?

    Thanks for shedding some light on Jason’s Deli! Another good one to look at is Panera Bread (if you haven’t done so already) they are guilty of pretending to be healthy, and it would be great to know if there is anything there that is ok to eat.

  4. Thank you for the insightful investigation into Jason’s Deli. I had just eaten there today and was pleased to see that my meal was mostly healthy, much better than the other sub chains out there. After reading your article, my only regret was enjoying that cookie. Next time, I’m skipping dessert. Again, thank you for another detailed write-up.

  5. reading the ingridients they gave you for chili & chicken chili I’m wondering if they’ve changed things AGAIN. I’m gluten free and in the past they’ve changed which soups are GF twice in the 16 mo I’ve been eating this way. When I started GF, they said that their chilis were GF, then they weren’t… and my choices were Veg Vegetable or chicken tortilla, and now looking at the lists above it looks like the regular chili is but the chicken chili is not. This is really frustrating. Maybe that’s why they don’t list their ing online, because they keep changing them.

    1. Great point Julie! If anyone has specific food allergies or sensitivities, you should probably ask each time you go there just to be sure.

  6. FB, thanks for the article. If there’s only a handful of items fair game to eat at a place like Jason’s Deli I am frightened to inquire about the standard fast food chains! Signed, One Surprised Dad

  7. I would LOVE if you did this with Whole Foods dine in foods!!!! Many of my friends believe if you eat there, it must be good, but I’m way more skeptical. A lot of the things they serve in their soup bar, salad bar and deli are not organic and can’t be 100% trusted! Thanks for all of your hard work!!!! I’m a mom of two and my youngest son has Leukemia, so I’m always trying to avoid chemicals in his diet since he takes so many in his chemo. Your hard work makes my life a little easier!!! Cheers!

    1. Most of Whole Foods dine-in dishes have GMOs, usually in the form of canola oil. Lately, I noticed some of their ingredients lists for their hot food bar at a location in CT had changed to just say “oil”, not specifying what type.

      We don’t have Jason’s Deli up here, but Moe’s does the same type of greenwashing…advertising organic tofu and grass-fed meats on big signs, and not telling you that their cooking oil is GMO soybean oil and all the corn chip and taco baskets are GMO corn.

      Even better quality, independently operated restaurants use “olive oil blend” that cuts the expensive olive oil with GMO canola.

      1. That is what I figured. Their marketing is so good that they have everyone believing that if you walk in the store you are buying good food. Unfortunately not true. It makes it so hard to buy the right foods when they don’t tell you the “whole truth”.

    2. I would love to see a report on Whole Food’s hot/cold bar items. That’s probably the only dine-out option I feel relatively good about and would really appreciate it if you conduct an investigation on it. Thanks so much for all you do!

    3. I am sorry that your son has leukemia. In the past, I have personally seen this herbal combination work. Four capsules each four times a day of:
      Pau D’Arco
      Golden seal
      Red clover

      Eating at least 80% raw food, and avoiding acid forming foods such as grains, beans meat, dairy and sugars will assist the body in producing the healing.

    4. Fresh Market is equally as bad, I think. Very good marketing and presentation, but the ingredients speak for themselves on many of the in-store prepared meal/snack options.

  8. This is my favorite spot as I know that I can get real food when I am traveling or at home with the Family. Thank you for report, I will go there for lunch today and have a great big salad made from the salad bar, just the way I like it! Keep up the great work.

  9. Thank you for this post! My favorite posts of yours are the ones where you tell us what we CAN eat. I’d love to see more on national chains with ingredients that you’d recommend! Maybe a blog post with two or three “safe” items from each place that carries organic ingredients.

    1. Jordanne – that is my favorite part too! I have only eaten at Jason’s deli I think twice ever but so happy that I got the spinach veggie wrap both times and it was quite tasty.

  10. Thanks for this!!! I used to LOVE my free ice cream at Jason’s Deli!

    Just a quick note about the L-cysteine found in the croissants. This ingredient is used as a dough conditioner and is derived from human hair or duck feathers! Gross, I’m not eating that!

    1. It’s usually made from pig hair now because of it’s similarity to human hair. But vegetarians may want to watch out, depending on how strict they are.

      On a side note, that ingredient is why most of Einsten’s Bagels menu items are listed as NOT vegetarian.

  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My kids and I LOVE Jason’s deli and I’m so glad you investigated this for us! You are AWESOME!

  12. Can you believe I never even heard of Jason’s Deli before? Do they even have one in VA? We don’t eat out much (like maybe 3 times a year) due to the fact that homemade is ALWAYS better (no horse meat in my burger, please and thankyou). But for those times we do, I think that this would be a better choice than Chick-Fil-A (we thought it was the best of fast food restaurants and we love to support their moral values).

    1. Look up their ingredient. It’s online. About 80 ingredients for a chicken sandwhich. Fungacide sprayed on salads. I’ll skip it based on that alone.

  13. Hi Food Babe,

    Why do you have ascorbic acid in red (in Croissant) when it is vitamin C? I am curious why you have Citric Acid highlighted as well?


    1. Citric acid used to be made from citrus fruits. Now it is cheaper to make it out of corn…genetically modified corn.

    2. Hi Jamie – Citric acid is not just lemon juice, it is an industrial man made product made from corn (likely genetically modified) Ascorbic Acid is also likely a genetically modified product.

  14. Thank you sooooo much Food Babe! I have been wondering what was safe to eat at Jason’s Deli for quite a while. I am so happy you did this investigation 🙂

  15. worse than that, we were at a Jasons Deli, where I WITNESSED a person behind the counter, drop the frozen cookie dough puck on the floor, he knew I was watching, so he put it aside, later trying to hide what he was doing he washed the cookie dough puck, put it on the sheet and slid it into the trash. I immediatley talked to the manager on duty and was basically chuckled at. I wrote to the main office and absolutley have never heard from them about this incident. My family will NEVER eat at a Jason’s deli ever again!

    1. If he put it in the trash, why are you upset? The employee probably didn’t want to get fired for throwing out food, but he did the right thing???

      1. Yes he did the right thing but he had to hide it….that is scary

      2. My guess may be that he hid it because he did not want to be caught dropping product and therefore losing the store money… Not that he was going to be expected to use it after it fell on the floor. Food places like this usually have a strict budget they have to keep to in terms or ordering and such and if he lost the company money in dropping it on the floor, not to mention the loss of money from the potential cooked product, he was probably trying to get away with hiding that he dropped it in the first place.

  16. Hi Vani,

    My husband and I stopped eating at Jason’s for just that reason, that the food cannot be trusted. I even stopped eating the prepared foods at WF’s since we have no idea what was GMO and what is not. We just recently started ordering food in Charlotte from Nourish and they are mostly organic and all local food. No GMO’s, organic olive oil for their dishes. If we go out to eat, we go to Luna’s Living Kitchen or Fern. Was wonderding what you thought of Zada Jane’s in Plaza Midwood? A lot of our friends like it and we are vegans who consume very little oil so our places are limited in Charlotte. When we lived in the NY area it was much easier to go out since there were. More organic vegan places to eat.
    Thanks for all your great reporting!

    1. I don’t want this to come out as judgmental, more inquisitive, so please take the question that way (I know it is hard to get tone on the internet). You mention you are Vegan and consume little oil. What exactly is the issue with consuming oil? Was it a certain type of oil (I avoid processed/industrial oils, trans fats and such…so I wasn’t sure if you were referring to that or to all oil/fats)? I just wondered what sources of fat you eat as a Vegan with little oils? I have a couple of cousins who are Vegan and my family is not, but we eat real food and I just never know how to provide adequate dishes at family events to satisfy everyone’s dietary restrictions.

      1. Hi Lisa,

        No problem with your question/comment. My husband and I are Nutritarians, which means we eat a totally plant based diet, with very little oil and sugar. Our fat source is nuts, seeds and avocado, etc. I just use the term Vegan since most people for the most part have a clue of what vegans are. That nutri label was started by Dr. Joel Furhman who is one of the most well know nutritional MD’s along with Caldwell Esselytenin (sp) John McDougall and Micheal Greger (nutrition All of these Dx’s eat plant based and very little/no oil and sugar. Dr. Fuhrman has been on PBS and Dr. Oz numerous times along with creating the ANDI scoring system for Whole Foods. Jeff Novick. who is a well know nutritionist, also is not a supporter of any oil. So I can see why you might be confused since some vegans have a horrible diet and use a lot of oil and sugar which sets up for an inflammatory process in the body for such diseases as autoimmune, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and cancer. Since oil ( even Olive Oil) has empty calories, 1 tbs=120 calories, one could eat a whole head of organic Romaine lettuce, tomato, and a few pumpkin seeds and get the same calories with excellent nutrition. The other problem that oils have is that they damage the endo therial (sp) linings of your arteries. There have been many studies that have been done on pubmed, nutrition, etc.. If you google any of these guys you can find the research. Hope this helps!

      2. olive oil has polyphenols, anti-inflammatory antiodants (provided its real quality olive oil).

        antidotely, my skin looks way better when i consume more olive oil, which makes me suspect its not all empty calories.

      3. coconut oil has LOTS of health benefits. not all oils are bad. and no WHOLE food is bad for everyone (when consumed in moderation). a WHOLE food can be bad for YOU but not be bad for someone else. one persons food can be another persons poison. the trick is to find what WHOLE foods work for you personally and which ones don’t.

      4. Serve what you want at a family event. The people who want special food can bring their own or eat before they come. Isn’t the reason for a family event to see the family?

  17. Thank you! We rarely eat out these days, but Jason’s Deli is one place we have taken the kids to for a quick, easy dinner when we are out. Thank you…I know what we will and won’t be ordering next time. 🙂

  18. Hi Vani.. Nice work on Jason’s Deli.. Wondering if you had analysis on Jimmy John’s ? I normally go for their Veggie sandwich (with “extra” cucumbers and tomatoes 🙂 ) but curious to know what else is in there.
    We eat a lot of bread per week for breakfast and lunch. Curious to know what kind of bread would you recommend that is god for you.

    1. Bread can have some scary ingredients in it. Vani like to eat sprouted bread by Ezekiel.
      At Jimmy John’s, I would try the veggie sandwich without cheese on a lettuce wrap instead of bread. The veggies are not organic but probably not too bad besides that…

    1. Yes, this junk is very common. However there is still PLENTY for you to eat you just have to stay educated and ask questions regarding foods you are uncertain about.

  19. Thanks for the information/investigation and as a former Jason’s deli franchisee I can tell you that this company has made strides where competitors won’t even address “healthy eating” options. Jason’s deli is family owned and operated with 200+ stores and growing. No not all the choices on the menu are “healthy” and unfortunately they are some of the best sellers or they would be removed. I mention the family owned and operated because their/our families eat there too. Aproximately 10 years ago this company gave all managers/owners Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food. Recently they have distributed The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I myself am reading Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss and have followed your blog for at least a year if not longer. The point is that we are all trying to eat better and eat real and produce real food. Until larger companies assist in the clean indgredients we add to our recipes and until we source and secure solutions we can provide to 200+ stores we will continue to do our best and replace indgredients as soon as possible. I say We as this is everyone’s dilemma not just a former partner in a franchise restaurant. By the way, some of your readers should be honest and admit that their own kitchens are not as clean as the restaurants they frequent and also realize that the mistake of one employee should not negate the greatness of a company in service when serving 50k meals plus a month. Jason’s deli along with a few other fast casual options I patronage are offering the best products for the price that a consumer is willing to pay. (Similar to our own grocery cart options and decisions we make on a daily basis.) Keep up the good work Food Babe it’s definetly sinking in!

    1. Great comment by Katherine East, former franchisee. I felt the analysis was quite harsh of a family owned company that is really trying to do a good job of healthy family food in a very difficult business climate. If you want perfect food, you can grow your own on a farm, and never eat out. Otherwise we should be encouraging places that try as hard as Jason’s Deli. Your article must have disheartened them and others from even trying to go clean. Perfect isn’t possible.

  20. Great post, I love Jason’s Deli, and it’s good to know what’s safe to eat there.
    I have a question though, I’ve been trying to educate myself on GMOs and I know that soy is a no-no. If it’s organic though, does that make it any safer? I use Central Market organic soy protein powder in my smoothies because I don’t eat dairy. Should I switch to another type of protein powder?

    1. I would stay away from any soy unless it is traditionally fermented organic soy and used as a condiment not a “food” (Things such as miso, natto, tempeh, tamari sauce, etc.). A great resource for information on the dangers of soy is Dr. Kaayla Daniel, She has a great book out “The Whole Soy Story” which is awesome information and research on Soy.

      1. Entire cultures, healthy cultures with low incidences of cancer and heart disease, I might add, have consumed high quantities of fermented soy. I’m guessing if it’s not GMO, then soy products are fine to consume. But I have not read what Dr. Daneil has to say. I’ll check it out.

        But historically. it seems OK to eat.

      2. the key word you mentioned was FERMENTED soy. soy protein powders are not made from fermented soy. fermenting is what makes it healthy.

  21. Good information food babe!! Thank you;). It is scary to think that gmos are everywhere. I’m learning. Have to investigate more though. I’ve been shopping at trader joes for a while now. Going to read labels more throughly. I’m sure many of their products are not as healthy as one would imagine.

  22. I have always wondered about the Garden of Eatin’ taco shells and chips. The box says they are organic, thus non-GMO, however there is canola oil in them which is highly impacted by GMOs… is the canola oil in these chips and shells organic? The box does not say “organic canola oil”… if it is not organic canola oil, isn’t it possible it is subject to GMO?

    1. Hi Julie, Garden of Eatin’ chips are non-GMO but they are made with Canola oil which in general is not a healthy oil. So eat in moderation…

  23. Dear Vani,

    Thank you for educating people about healthy food choices. Here at Jason’s Deli, we appreciate the kind words you wrote about several of our menu items.

    Like you said, our Garden Fresh Salad Bar, Nutty Mixed-Up Salad and Spinach Veggie Wrap are all healthy choices. Those are some of my personal favorites and I’m glad you mentioned them. However, you wrote that the Jason’s Deli tagline is “We are all about healthy food,” and actually that’s not correct. Our tagline is “And so much more…” because we want people to know that we offer a variety of choices to suit everyone’s taste – from healthy to indulgent.

    For our guests looking for healthy choices we offer lots of fresh, organic items like organic spinach, organic field greens, organic baby carrots, organic apple slices, organic peanut butter and organic grape jelly, just to name a few. For people that want something a little more indulgent we offer free ice cream, which contains no high fructose corn syrup. And to correct one other thing you posted, our ice cream is hormone and antibiotic free.

    We love fresh food and premium, more natural ingredients. We were the first major restaurant to ban artificial trans fats in the U.S. and also the first to eliminate high fructose corn syrup in our food. Of course, there’s always room to learn more when it comes to offering a variety of healthy foods and that’s why I enjoyed reading your blog post. Thank you for educating people about their food choices and thank you for writing about Jason’s Deli.

    Jamie Cohen
    Brand Management Director
    Jason’s Deli

    1. Jamie – Thank you so much for reaching out. I have a couple of questions – are you positive that even the “nonfat dry milk” in the ice cream are hormone and antibiotic free? Also, it’s interesting that your tag line is different now from what I previously saw on your marketing materials and in the store. Did this change recently?

  24. Interesting read! I actually go to Jason’s Deli at least once or twice a week because it’s perfect for my college budget. I’ve never ordered anything off the actual menu because I was apprehensive about what ingredients were exactly in everything. . .so naturally, I always order the salad-bar. And when I get it to go, I make sure I pack the to-go box full with produce since buying vegetables and greens as a college student gets expensive! I’m glad I’m making the right decision, but I guess the only thing I have to start excluding are the pickles. . .always thought they tasted kind of weird anyway!

    Thanks for writing such an informative post 🙂

  25. Is “Artesian” bread different than the Artisan bread I see on their website menu? Am assuming it uses water from an Artesian spring, perhaps? 😉

  26. RE comment about Jasons deli, and the dirty cookie…he did NOT throw the cookie away, he washed it, put it on the sheet and baked it. When I saw that I went to the manager and reported it. He wasn’t happy with me but he made them throw away the batch. I believe that is what happened but for all I know they wrapped them and sold them, they took all the cookies out of sight and into the back room. When you try to hide something like that why would I believe they threw them away?

    1. If I’m correct, it is derived from corn and therefore probably genetically modified.

  27. Everytime I read one of your investigations, Incubus’ “Agoraphobia” lyrics play in my head….”I wanna stay inside. I wanna stay inside for good.”

  28. Thank you for what you do! You talked about how canola oil is bad for you. We usually use extra virgin olive oil, but I heard you should not use that at high temps. What would you recommend using for the high temp dishes? My daughter is allergic to all nuts including coconut. Thank you!

    1. Vani recommends coconut oil or sesame oil in general for high heat cooking. I hope the sesame oil will work for your daughter.

    2. Coconut is not a nut. They are from palm trees which are like grass. Regular nuts are in tree fruit family. Peanuts are legumes like green beans and lentils. Bananas are grass and have way too much sugar.

  29. WOW! We don’t EVER go to places like Jason’s, but after reading this I might give it a second thought. Thanks for doinh such an amazing job at looking at these ingredients!!

  30. I think its going a bit far to say no one should willingly want to eat corn or soybeans, ever. Caramel powder is dry, powdered caramelized corn syrup not “manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure” as you claim. Jason’s Deli has all the organic and vegan options you could wish for which is saying something because most places don’t have any. Most people want to eat something other than raw fruits and vegetables every day of their life and if you do decide to eat something else at a restaurant you are unlikely to do better than Jason’s Deli. Criticism of bread and meat is universal criticism of the world food supply which no single institution is going to be able to change.

  31. Hi
    I was just wondering about the chicken noodle soup and chicken pot pie soup and

  32. Wow I’ve never heard of Jason’s Deli, but this is a real eye opener to me. That even the simple items you may order out & think they just make there can have all kinds of crazy ingredients that you would never use to make that item yourself! And that is at a place that is “healthy”, I’ll have to read some more of your posts about the run of the mill places, not sure I even want to know! Makes me really glad we don’t eat out often, it’s easy to see how unhealthy it is for someone to eat out all the time bc even when making “healthy” choices they are constantly filling their bodies with that nasty junk 🙁

    1. Jason’s Deli isn’t a health food restaurant. They offer healthy options like 20+ organic options, fresh fruits and steamed veggies, gluten free, low sodium, low fat options and lighter portions for pasta, potatoes and sandwiches.
      There is nothing healthy about bacon, butter, sour cream and lots of cheese but the customer is always right and they don’t judge you. I eat there at least 100 times a year and I once saw a woman get half a stick of butter on her potato and ask for the other half on the side. I try to avoid croissants, bacon, cheese but sometimes I like to get 1/2 or 3/4 of a pound of meat on a sandwich as a once a month treat.

      1. Oh I understand it’s not a “health food” place but the fact that it does offer quite a few organic & touted “healthy” items, way more than most. So just to me, comparing that to like a mcdonalds or something like that, I can only imagine what is in THEIR food when some of these “healthy” items even had some bad stuff. If that makes sense 🙂 I mean obviously fast food you know it’s not great, but I don’t think most of us think about those type of additives/”ingredients” being in some simple items you get. You know there’s grease, but you wouldn’t think there’s weird chemicals.

  33. We haven’t dined at a Jason’s deli in more than two years. The last time we were there, my husband complained that there was dirt in the spinach in the salad bar. The team member that was on the other end of the complaint started arguing with him and telling him that it wasn’t really dirt. Needless to say, we were disappointed and didn’t want to return. However, after reading this, I decided to take our kids to lunch. Their grilled cheese sandwiches were so delicious. They ate everything on their plates and the kids meals are only $2.99. Win, win, win, win! They did want the free ice cream, of course, but we passed on that this time. I had the Spinach Veggie Wrap which was delish! I’ve written to both our local store and the corporate office and sent them the URL to your post. I also encouraged them to expand their organic and real food options. Thank you so much for researching this for us!

  34. Hi Foodbabe – Can you please recommend a healthy oil for high heat cooking or a general post on the best oils that we can use for cooking? Thanks.

    1. Hi – Vani likes to use coconut oil or sesame oil for high heat cooking.

  35. My husband and I actually eat here a LOT because I love the salad bar option… The one thing I wonder – there is a lot of stuff missing from what is on their menu in this article (which is understandable given the amount of stuff on their menu…) but my question is this – if it’s something you didn’t feel was important enough to feature in the article, does that mean that it’s actually safe to eat or just not bad enough that it didn’t deem being mentioned?

    Also this is my first experience with your website – have you ever reviewed Chipotle? It’s like my all time fave fast food place and I’d love to know if it’s as good as they advertise themselves to be!

    1. Hi Laura – the fact that Vani did not discuss every menu item is just because there are too many – it does not mean that they were good or bad – she was just trying to show a nice representation of the menu so that readers get the idea.
      And yes, she has written several posts on Chipotle. Glad you found Enjoy!

  36. I must point out that propylene glycol is a food additive, not antifreeze. Ethylene Glycol is antifreeze. BIG difference. For those of you who say there’s not…H2O is safe to drink H2O2 is poison. It’s chemistry and important to know and pay attention in class.

  37. Definitions of infertility differ, with demographers tending to define infertility as childlessness in a population of women of reproductive age, while the epidemiological definition is based on “trying for” or “time to” a pregnancy, generally in a population of women exposed to a probability of conception.;”;;

    Until next time

  38. There are many sample of the baby products available in the market, you just need to trace the
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  39. Foodbabe, you forgot one thing. They don’t steam their veggies, they microwave them. They put them in a microwave. I also recommend the iodine test for starch in meats. Just use a drop of colored iodine tincture and if there’s any starch in the meat it will turn black or berry colored. Real meat has no starch in it and will remain amber colored. Please tackle the microwave issue, I’m tired of not being able to order steamed veggies at a restaurant. Most restaurants do the same thing and use microwaves and call it steamed. Thanx…

  40. Oh my goodness, this couldn’t have piqued my interest more! I just visited my parents in NM and my dad & I went to Jason’s Deli in Las Cruces for lunch last week! I had never heard of it (I live in western MD). I am vegan and could have made a better choice, but was impressed with Jason’s overall. We had the free ice cream cone…still learning, Food Babe. Thanks for all you do for us!

  41. Please analyze Jimmy Johns and Subway like this 🙂 Its so hard to eat healthy out in chains. I’ve looked up some of Subway’s ingredients in their breads and meats, but I’d love to know more information and what is a truly clean eating out example, if any.

  42. We went to Jason’s Deli in Charleston, SC a few years ago. My daughter has a rye allergy, so the first time to any restaurant has us looking at ingredients. The manager had a binder that he let me look at with ingredients to most/all of their offerings. They were great, we definitely will go there again.

  43. While Propylene glycol is likely not good for you, its not in anti freeze – thats Ethylene glycol. Ethylene is far more toxic and if it was actually in food it might actually draw the attention of the government since even a small amount can sicken and kill pets

  44. I sincerely appreciate all of your efforts. I wonder if you knew that Jason’s Deli receives most of their soups / sauces in large plastic bags which are then microwaved (yes, in the bag) at all locations. According to corporate management this is all allowed by the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. Incredulous.

  45. I just became educated about the additive carrageenan. I never thought it would be that bad! I switched to drinking coconut milk, however, the brand I buy (SO Delicious), supposedly is organic and non-GMO but it has carrageenan. It states on the side of carton ‘all ingredients are non-GMO. Really!? What coconut milk do I buy now!? Thank you, Food Babe for all your work and insight!

    1. I have had the same question. I have been using organic non-dairy milks for many years and didn’t know until recently that carrageenan is a toxic ingredient! Is there a commercial brand to buy of almond, coconut milks? Thanks!

    2. I went round & round about coconut milk because of the problems with the container cans were lined with BPA and I was encouraged to buy the coconut cream or manna. Those work well for soups, sauces and baking. But steeping and straining coconut flakes makes wonderful milk for drinking. Check Nutiva’s site.

    3. If you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtech you can make your own coconut milk. All you need is shredded coconut, water, vanilla extract. Then strain if you don’t like the pulp. I either do fresh almond or coconut milk and they turn out so delicious!

    4. Hi
      There are lots of ways that carrageenan can be prepared and in itself it doesn’t seem to be a problem. If you read this report you’ll see that it’s the degraded carrageenan which causes problems. It’s degraded with acid.

      My mother would regularly use Carrageenan Moss soaked in water to create a jelly which she mixed with other foods. It’s famous in Ireland as a healthy additive and thickener for desserts and soups. It doesn’t have the same effect as the processed type so your coconut milk may be alright depending on what type they have used.

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