Restaurant group: 'Let Obama eat his hot dog'

She also noted that CCF was originally funded with money from the tobacco industry, which has been widely reported.

"The group has fought against stricter blood-alcohol levels for drivers and against increases in the minimum wage," she said. "Its spokespersons avoid discussions about science and instead attack health advocates’ credibility. In the process, CCF often resorts to distortion and name-calling."

PCRM announced this week that it will ask the White House to issue an executive order barring the president, the first family, the vice president and all members of Obama's cabinet from eating unhealthy foods in public.

The move follows other provocative campaigns, including one that placed billboards in prominent areas of Chicago and Miami reading "Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer."

The group's nutrition education director Susan Levin said that Obama has a "responsibility to watch what he eats in public."

"The White House would never set up a photo op showing the president buying cigarettes, so why is it okay to show him eating a hot dog?" Levin said in a statement Tuesday.

She cited increasing rates of obesity in the United States and studies tying colorectal cancer and premature death to the consumption of processed meats.

Obama's occasional stops at Washington, D.C.-area burger joints always attract media attention.

He treated staff to lunch at Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill in August 2011 and went with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Va., a year before that.

Despite the trend, some note that Obama appears to have lost weight since assuming office.

CCF defended meals like hot dogs and hamburgers as "quintessential American foods."

"When it comes to the First Family’s dinner choices, the Center for Consumer Freedom suggests that they trust experts, not evangelical vegetarians who don lab coats to assume credibility," Wilson said. 

More than 10,000 of PCRM's 125,000 members are physicians, Agarwal said.

CCF has gone after PCRM in the past, along with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which it accuses of "attacking the responsible consumption of adult beverages."

It also criticized the influential Institutes of Medicine (IOM) for joining a movement of "food nannies" after a recent IOM report concluded that staving off an obesity epidemic may require a soda tax and other concessions from industry.