A report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that fries from Burger King and Wendy’s still contain too much trans fat, despite a recent ban imposed by New York City. The CSPI made the discovery after shuttling fries from Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonald’s to an independent lab. Tests showed that fries from both Burger King and Wendy’s contained more than 3 grams of trans fat per serving, compared to McDonald’s fries, which contained only 0.2 grams of trans fat per serving. The chains are not violating New York City’s ban on trans fat, yet.
Fast food fries are cooked twice, once offsite, and again at the local restaurant. The CSPI believes that Burger King and Wendy’s are cooking their fries in hydrogenated oils offsite, which is allowed, and then cooking them again in trans-fat-free oil in New York City. Starting in 2008, the city will ban any restaurant from serving food with more than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. From the CSPI:
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the American Heart Association, and various other health authorities recommend that people consume no more than 2 grams of trans fat per day. That’s about as much as occurs naturally in milk and meat, leaving virtually no room for artificial trans fat from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Like saturated fat, trans fat raises “bad” cholesterol that promotes heart disease. But unlike saturated fat, trans fat also lowers the “good” cholesterol that helps guard against heart disease.
If McDonald’s can lower their trans fat levels, so can Burger King and Wendy’s. Burger King has already promised to go trans-fat-free by 2008, which is nice, but neither chain should threaten their customers’ health by making them wait one year for the full ban to take effect.