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KFC agrees to warn Calif. customers about potatoes

SACRAMENTO Calif. KFC has agreed to post warnings in its California restaurants that its fried-potato side dishes and such items in other companies' restaurants contain acrylamide, a known carcinogen, the office of state Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. said Tuesday.

Franchisor KFC Corp., an arm of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands inc., would include the alert on in-store nutritional posters as part of a settlement of a state lawsuit against the chain and about a dozen other food sellers, including McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's, for violating the so-called Prop. 65 law requiring public warnings about potential risks of cancer or reproductive harm. KFC also agreed to pay $208,000 in civil penalties and $133,000 to fund Prop. 65 enforcement, but would not admit any wrongdoing.

The warning would state that acrylamide "is created in fried and baked potatoes made by all restaurants, by other companies, and even when you bake or fry potatoes at home."

KFC general counsel Matthew Preston was quoted by the Los Angeles Times Wednesday as calling the deal a "win-win" and saying that KFC was "doing our part in California."

The settlement, of a complaint filed by former Attorney General Bill Lockyer, is subject to court approval in Los Angeles, where a hearing was set for May 29. Deputy Atty. Gen. Edward G. Weil was quoted by the Times as saying that he was in settlement talks with Burger King and Wendy's.

However, no mention was made of McDonald's, which had vowed to fight the lawsuit under the premise that the chain was immune to the state's warning law because of federal precedence in matters involving food contents.

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