Samples of grilled chicken from each restaurant were tested and found to contain PhIPm, a compound from a group of carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which are often found in grilled meat, according to the press release. It adds that the federal government officially recognized HCA as a carcinogen in 2005, and PhIPm specifically has been named on the California governor's list of chemicals known to cause cancer for more than ten years.
The continued use of this harmful ingredient has prompted the PCRM to file suit under California's Proposition 65 in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. The suit says that the restaurants should have to warn their customers of the dangerous ingredient.
"Grilled chicken can cause cancer, and consumers deserve to know that this supposedly healthy product is actually just as bad for them as high-fat fried chicken," said PCRM President Neal Barnard, M.D. "Even a grilled chicken salad increases the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other forms of this lethal disease."
Mike Adams, natural health advocate and author of "Grocery Warning," said that the failure of these major restaurant chains to disclose their harmful ingredient was unconscionable, but not surprising.
"Fast food giants are just like every other arm of big business: They want to maximize profits regardless of consumer safety," he said. "Researching alternatives to preparing chicken with this cancer-causing ingredient might affect their bottom line by a few cents, so of course they don't want to do it.
"One can only hope this lawsuit will prompt the businesses to find a way to remove this harmful ingredient from their chicken in order to protect their profits, if not their customers," he said.