Thursday, June 15, 2006

Another obesity lawsuit. Target: KFC

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI, a 'watchdog group' also called America's "food police," but really just a group lawyers) filed a lawsuit Tuesday to try to stop KFC from using partially hydrogenated oil in fried chicken and other dishes. Partially hydrogenated oil is the main contributor of trans fat in fried foods.

KFC, a subsidiary Yum Brands Inc., called the lawsuit "frivolous."

The back-up objective of the suit (if they fail to force KFC to stop using the oil) is to require KFC to post signs notifying customers that their food is high in trans fat.

These lawyers have no faith in Americans' ability to make decisions for themselves. I don't think KFC should be able to hide the fact that they use partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or that some of their food is high in trans fat, but they don't hide it: it's all available to the public on KFC's website and in their restaurants (and also, on my website and in my book.)

Besides telling the restaurant what to do, the lawsuit seeks attorney's fees. CSPI is listed as one of the attorneys so that's how they get paid.

But be not mislead! Many of KFC's menu items ARE high in trans fat and most everyone agrees that too much trans fat will clog your arteries and kill you. Per KFC's own nutrition calculator: one Extra Crispy breast has 4.5 grams of trans fat and their Pot Pie contains 14 grams of trans fat. The suggested limit for trans fat is 2 grams per day.

Update: ABC News has published an interesting article on this issue with the results of their poll which indicates "most Americans have a free-will mind-set. Asked if KFC should offer more healthy options by changing its menu items, 2,652 readers voted that KFC should be left alone while 951 voted that the menu needs to be changed."

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