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Airport Food Review: Detroit Healthiest, Atlanta Falls to Bottom

Roasted beet and pear salad, a quinoa bowl, and other heart-healthy foods are now available in many U.S. airports. According to PCRM’s latest Airport Food Review, 83 percent of restaurants in 15 of the nation’s busiest airports offer at least one low-fat, cholesterol-free meal. But cheeseburgers and chicken wings still clog the terminals at a few airports.

The number of airport restaurants offering healthy foods has increased sharply from 2001, when PCRM’s inaugural airport food review found just 57 percent of airport eateries offering at least one healthful option. Detroit ranked at the top of the latest report for the third year in a row, with a perfect score of 100. That’s a big change from 2001, when Detroit placed at the bottom of the list with only 33 percent of its restaurants offering a healthy option.

“Healthy airport food has taken off over the past decade, but there is still room for improvement,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “The good news is that healthy vegetarian choices are available now at most airports. But some terminals are still clogged with high-fat, high-cholesterol offerings like pizza and cheeseburgers.”

Charlotte-Douglas Airport in Charlotte, N.C., registered the most impressive improvement since last year, with a 9 point increase in the number of restaurants offering a healthy option. Denver International Airport was the biggest loser, with a six point decrease from last year’s score. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, the world’s busiest airport, gained a point this year, but landed in last place with a score of 71 percent.

Here are the latest rankings:

1. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport  100% 59/59
2. San Francisco International Airport  96% 65/68
3. Washington Dulles International Airport  92% 35/38
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport  86% 57/66
5. (tie) Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport  83% 82/99
5. (tie) Las Vegas McCarran International Airport  83% 48/58
6. (tie) Denver International Airport   82% 46/56
6. (tie) Miami International Airport   82% 60/73
7. (tie) Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport   81% 46/57
7. (tie) Charlotte Douglas International Airport  81% 39/48
8. Orlando International Airport   80% 33/41
9. (tie) Los Angeles International Airport   76% 42/55
9. (tie) Baltimore/ Washington International Airport   76% 31/41
10. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport  75% 27/36
11. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport 71% 64/90

To read the complete report, visit

airport food review

To read the complete report, visit

PCRM Online,
January 2012

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