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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wendy's Cuts Trans Fats in Fries and Chicken

By Consumer

In a move that significantly reduces trans fatty acids (TFAs) on its menu, Wendy's is making the switch to non-hydrogenated cooking oil for its French fries and breaded chicken items. The oil has zero grams of trans fat per serving.

Wendy's announced that its 6,300 U.S. and Canadian restaurants are scheduled to switch to the new blend of corn and soy oil beginning in August.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a frequent critic of the fast food industry, applauded the move.

"Quite simply, Wendy's removal of artery-clogging partially hydrogenated oils from its deep-fryers will make its French fries and fried chicken healthier than similar foods at McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, and other competitors," said CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson.

"Wendy's deserves enormous credit for breaking the trans-fat log jam in the restaurant world. Its action proves that other restaurants, big or small, have no excuse for continuing to impair their customers' health by using partially hydrogenated oil. Indeed, chains whose fare is loaded with trans fat are at risk of being sued for marketing unnecessarily harmful foods and not warning patrons of the risk," Jacobson said.

Wendy's breaded chicken sandwiches, nuggets and strips will have zero grams of trans fat. Depending on the serving size, trans fats in French fry offerings will range from zero to 0.5 grams. Kids' Meal nuggets and fries will have zero grams of trans fat.

Wendy's also is working directly with its French fry suppliers to further reduce trans fats that occur as part of the par frying process at their facilities, with a goal of zero grams.

"This is the right thing to do," said Kerrii Anderson, Wendy's interim chief executive officer. "We're proud of our legacy of innovation in the restaurant industry, and these latest steps that enhance the nutritional profile of our food. We're the first national hamburger chain cooking with non-hydrogenated oil in the U.S."

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that individuals substitute mono and polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats, and consume as little trans fat as possible as part of a healthful diet.

Jacobson called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require other restaurants to follow Wendy's lead.

"To solve the trans-fat problem once and for all, the Food and Drug Administration, that sleeping watchdog, needs to act. The FDA has ignored CSPI's 2004 petitions calling for disclosure of trans fat in restaurants and a virtual ban of partially hydrogenated oil," he said.

Fast food keeps getting better and better for weight loss...

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