Burger King Faced Trans Fat Lawsuit Before. What Happened After?

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

By 2006, Burger King is the only large-scale fast food restaurant chain yet to commit to removing trans fats from its menu. To “accelerate the pace” of Burger King’s efforts to replace artificial trans fat with healthier oils, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) launched a lawsuit against Burger King in May 2007.

Trans Fat Intake and the Fast Food Connection

Commercially-fried foods from fast food chains are a huge source of trans fat intake in the North American diet in early 2000s. Feeling the pressure to make more healthy options available on their menus, a number of fast food chains have committed to removing all trans fats from the products they serve.

By mid-2006, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, KFC, and Starbucks have all announced plans and timelines for removing trans fat from their products. According to CSPI, Burger King is the only major chain not making a move to get rid of artery-clogging fats nationwide (although they are complying with the trans fat bans in New York and Philadelphia.)

Trans fat raises bad LDL cholesterol and lowers good HDL cholesterol. Research shows that eating just 5 grams a day raises the risk of heart disease by 25 percent. In June 2006, the American Heart Association recommended that Americans should limit trans fat to less than one percent of total calories. For an average adult consuming a 2,000 calorie/day diet, that means no more than two grams of trans fat a day!

That’s why CSPI, is concerned about the number of Burger King menu items that contain alarming levels of trans fat. A regular-size order of Chicken Tenders with a large order of french fries had 8 grams of trans fat at the time. A sausage biscuit with a large order of hash browns had an whopping 18 grams of trans fat — 9 times more than the Heart Association’s maximum recommended intake!

Burger King Announced To Remove Trans Fat By The End of 2008

In July 2007, Burger King announced that all items, including baked goods, will contain zero trans fat by the end of 2008. They have been criticized for not switching all of their US locations to trans-fat free oil as fast as their competitors.

By now, artificial trans fats have been eliminated in the food food supply chain and partially-hydrogenated oils are not permitted in use. Even though we don’t need to worry about lurking trans fat, it may still be better for our heart health to choose foods prepared in healthier cooking methods instead of deep-frying.


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