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McDonald's Gets Off Cheap in Trans Fat Settlement

If you'd forgotten about McDonald's promise to drop trans fats from their menu of largely fatty fried foods, at the risk of legal action, I really don't blame you, as that was probably what the fast-food giant was hoping for all along.

With no replacement for trans fats in sight, a California judge approved a settlement between McDonald's and the group BanTransFats.com last week for $8.5 million for the company's failure to let the public know in 2003 that it hadn't found a safer trans fat substitute.

The lion's share of the settlement ($7 million) will go to the American Heart Foundation which will spend it on programs to teach consumers about trans fats. The remainder will be spent by McDonald's so they can inform the public about its failure to meet its 2003 deadline.

If it sounds like McDonald's got off with just a slap on the hand, you're right, especially compared to the damage trans fats can do to your health, a recent message restaurants in New York City received loud and clear.

Besides, I wonder if you'll ever see a commercial or an ad anywhere admitting McDonald's was guilty of anything, except on late-night TV?

Chicago Sun-Times August 27, 2005

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