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McDonald's Trans Fat "Promise" Long Forgotten

After backtracking on a promise made two years ago to eliminate artificial trans fats from its cooking oils, McDonald's felt the wrath of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in a big way today. The D.C. based watchdog group ran a full-page ad in the New York Times urging McDonald's to stop cooking with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

The top half of the full-age ad, entitled "A Broken McPromise," shows a young man being administered CPR. Below the graphic is an open letter to McDonald's CEO Mike Roberts scolding his company for breaking their promise to eliminate those oils from their American restaurants, even though some of the company's European stores have already made the switch.

McDonald's raked in a ton of good press for its announcement to reformulate its cooking oil to include less trans fat, but quietly backtracked from that promise in 2003, saying they would "extend the timeframe" for the change. And, now, the company is being sued in California by BanTransFat.com, Inc. for misleading the public about the abandoned switch.

The ad also called attention to CSPI's new satellite organization, TransFree America, launched in May to formally petition FDA to ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils in foods. A second legal petition filed in July asked FDA to at least require restaurants to disclose on menus or signs that they use partially hydrogenated oils.

Sounds like a great idea, especially since four of the worst foods you could possibly eat are cooked with trans fat.

Center for Science in the Public Interest September 24, 2004

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