McDonald’s Settles Trans Fat Lawsuit, and Loses Some Green of its Own.

In the wake of growing concerns over the expanding waistlines of children and adults across the country, McDonald’s has agreed to cut the fat, or at least the trans fat, from its cooking oil.

As part of a settlement with a number of plaintiffs, including consumer watch group called Ban Trans Fats, McDonald’s has agreed to pay plaintiffs $1.8 Million in damages (that’s 2.3 million hamburgers, for those keeping score), plus attorneys fees. In addition, McDonald’s has agreed to transition to oils with less transfat (which it has evidently already done). Finally, McDonald’s will give a $7 Million donation the American Heart Association, and spend a Million-plus on public notices about the status of the trans-fat situation at McDonald’s.

Ban Trans Fat has also been successful in encouraging Kraft to make health-conscious changes to its offerings, including increasing the size of nutrition labels and reducing the fat content in certain “junk foods.”

As consumer awareness grows regarding the growing health problem in the U.S. and Congress continues to pressure watchdog groups and regulatory agencies to crack down on food manufacturers, we can expect to see food companies making changes to their formulas, all of which will be reflected in advertising (how else is the word going to get out). This may translate into tougher analysis — from competitors and regulatory agencies — when it comes to claims made in advertising. Look out, consumers, truth in advertising is coming back.

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