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KFC sued for serving chicken fried in trans fats

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: fast food, trans fats, KFC


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(NewsTarget) Retired physician Arthur Hoyte of Rockville, Ma is working with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to sue popular fast food restaurant Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) over its use of cooking oils that contain trans fats.

"If I had known that KFC uses an unnatural frying oil, and that their food was so high in trans fat, I would have reconsidered my choices," Dr. Hoyte said.

The oils used by KFC and other fast food establishments contain trans fats that are proven to be harmful to the body when they are ingested. Many food manufacturers rely on hydrogenated oils to increase the shelf life and flavor stability of their products, but the fats are known to promote high levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, which has been linked to heart disease.

According to a report by foodconsumer.org, KFC spokespeople regard the lawsuit as frivolous. A press release from the eatery declared that, "All KFC products are safe to eat and meet or exceed all government regulations, and we take health and safety issues very seriously."

The suit demands that KFC clearly label their menu items that contain partially hydrogenated cooking oils, or stop using the harmful ingredient altogether.

The KFC statement said that using a healthier alternative to their current cooking oil has been under consideration, but that there were " ... a number of factors to consider including maintaining KFC's unique taste and flavor of Colonel Sanders' Original Recipe, supply availability and transportation, among others."

The foodconsumer.org article offered solutions for consumers who wanted to indulge in their favorite foods, but wanted to enjoy them without the risks associated with trans fats. These included choosing foods with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which do not raise LDL cholesterol levels; eating more fish, which contain less saturated fat than other meats (some varieties contain omega-3 fatty acids that may protect against heart disease); and asking your server about your food's ingredients when eating out.

Far from feeling his lawsuit was without merit, Hoyte said that he had a good reason for his fight against the harmful ingredient. "I am bringing this suit because I want KFC to change the way it does business. And I'm doing it for my son and others' kids, so that they may have a healthier, happier, trans-fat-free future."

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