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Court dismisses CSPI lawsuit urging BK to action on trans fats

MIAMI A District of Columbia Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Center for Science in the Public Interest against Burger King Corp. that had urged the burger behemoth either to halt use of artificial trans fats or post prominent warnings about the substance on menu boards, Miami-based BK said Friday.

The court ruled in November that CSPI had no legal grounds for its lawsuit because the advocacy group had not met the requirement of representing someone who had actually been harmed by trans fats, which have been linked to heart disease.CSPI officials could not be reached for comment by press time.

CSPI filed the suit in May 2007, claiming that Burger King was the only top burger chain to retain use of partially hydrogenated frying oil. Both McDonald’s and Wendy’s had announced plans to eliminate the use of trans fats before CSPI filed the suit. In October BK said that all of its U.S. and Canadian restaurants were cooking with trans-fat-free oil, and that by Nov. 1 its entire menu, including par-fried items, would be prepared with ingredients containing zero grams of trans fat.

“Since October 2008, all Burger King restaurants have been cooking with trans-fat-free cooking oils,” said Denise T. Wilson, a BK spokeswoman. “Additionally, all Burger King menu ingredients contain zero grams of artificial trans fat, including ingredients used in baked goods, par-fried and pre-portioned menu items. Removing artificial trans fats from all Burger King restaurants cooking oils and ingredients is another initiative in the company’s BK Positive Steps nutrition program.”

Through the BK Positive Steps nutrition program, the company has also limited the types of advertising directed at children younger than 12 and created a five-member panel of nutrition experts to advise the company.

Burger King in November also limited sodium to 600 milligrams or less in any Kids Meals it targets in advertising to children younger than 12.

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