US: Lawsuit Will Force McDonald's to Reduce Hazardous Transfats

McDonald's to Pay $8.5 Million in Trans Fat Lawsuit
Publisher Name: 
Associated Press

McDonald's Corp. will pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit
accusing the fast-food giant of failing to inform consumers of delays in a
plan to reduce fat in the cooking oil used for its popular french fries and
other foods.

BanTransFats.com, a nonprofit advocacy group, sued McDonald's
in California
state court in 2003, alleging the company did not effectively
disclose to
the public that it had not switched to a healthier cooking oil.

In
September 2002, McDonald's announced it would lower trans fat in its
cooking
oils and said the switch would be completed in five months. In
February 2003,
McDonald's announced a delay. The lawsuit accused the Oak
Brook, Ill.-based
company of failing to adequately inform consumers of that
delay.

The
agreement announced Wednesday requires McDonald's to pay $7 million to
the
American Heart Association to use the proceeds to educate the public
about
trans fats in foods. Heart-clogging trans fat is made when
manufacturers add
hydrogen to vegetable oil - a process called
hydrogenation.

Wednesday's
settlement also requires McDonald's to spend $1.5 million
publicizing that
it has not followed through on its 2002 pledge.

Additionally, the company
will pay $7,500 to BanTransFats.com and $7,500 to
Katherine Fettke, who had
filed a separate complaint against McDonald's and
has also agreed to settle.

McDonald's
has reduced the amount of trans fat in its Chicken McNuggets,
Crispy Chicken
and McChicken sandwiches, said spokesman Walt Riker.

He said the company
is working to reduce trans fat in its other fried foods.

"We're continuing
to test. We want to make sure we get it right for our
customers,'' he said.

AMP Section Name:Food and Agriculture
  • 182 Health