Despite Ban, Fries From Burger King And Wendy's Still Contain Too Much Trans Fat

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.

Burger King and Wendy’s Fries Flunk Trans Fat Test in New York City [CSPI]
(Photo: Matt McGee)

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  1. badgeman46 says:

    Remember that it was the CSPI that lobbied for transfat to begin with, by claiming that it was healthir than lard. Go figure.

  2. beyond says:

    If they can be cooked in trans fat before delivery and they are “reheated” in non-trans fat oil, what’s the point of the ban exactly?

  3. Rusted says:

    Just nanny-statism run amuck.

  4. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Maybe the CSPI should mind their own goddamned business.

  5. kchimko says:

    @ Beyond, what they mean is that they found out why wendy’s and burger king’s fries contain so much trans fat. from what the article explains they are both reheating in trans-fat-free oil, but, the first time they are cooked is through using trans-fat-NON-free oil.

  6. karmaghost says:

    @WV.Hillbilly: With a name like “Center for Science in the Public Interest,” this actually sounds exactly like their business.

  7. Amelie says:

    How much common sense does it take to realize that eating at fast food places is not healthy – period? And if you generally avoid them because they’re not healthy, what difference does the occasional trans-fat meal make?

  8. webwbr says:

    @WV.Hillbilly:
    AMEN!

    @karmaghost:
    That is what a Communist would say.

  9. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    When I go to Wendy’s, I just avoid the fries altogether and get the chili instead. Problem solved.

  10. ColoradoShark says:

    @Rusted: I halfway agree with you. Nanny statism is when the government forbids you from doing something unhealthy.

    On the other hand, I believe it is perfectly appropriate for the government to tell you what the current scientific evidence is on health issues like this and to force companies to tell the truth about what is in the food. Then you make the choice.

  11. SkyeBlue says:

    Maybe it DOES seem like the Government treating us like babies but when you come down to it isn’t it the Government (which means WE people) who end up paying the medical costs for the people who want to have their rights to do what they want to do to themselves? I really can’t even imagine the costs that Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security disability have to pay EVERY MONTH (for monthly benefits and medical care and prescription drugs) for people who have continued to be obese but refuse to lose weight, for people who continue to choose to smoke even while the Government pays for their medicine for Emphysema or COPD, or for people who have used illegal drugs for years and are now mentally imparied or for people who have been alcoholics and cannot function or hold a job.

    What exactly is wrong with the Government stepping in on an issue like this?

  12. burgundyyears says:

    @SkyeBlue: Think of all the cost to society and health care that arises due to the abuse and excessive use of alcohol. And that causation there is much more direct than it could ever be for transfats. Therefore, it should be banned. Right?

    It’s a little weird how this sort of fundamentalism (excess may lead to bad results, therefore BAN IT ALL!) reconsitutes itself from the southern backwoods (“dry” counties) back into a metropolitan mecca, isn’t it?

    People have a pretty fundamental right to decide what goes into their bodies. Transfats are just the modern pariah for the prohibitionists. Oh, and the CSPI is just a bunch of doughty old nannies. They would love nothing more to be publish their own standards for eating and living and force you to live by them.

  13. SkyeBlue says:

    Yes, people do have a right to choose what goes into their bodies, that isn’t an issue. What I am trying to say is why should others have to pay for people who make the kind of choices they do? As an example, a motorcycle rider who CHOOSES not to wear a helmet, gets into a accident and ends up with severe brain damage. Who would end up paying for the lifelong care for this person because of the choice they have made? They would most likely end up on disability for the rest of their life.

  14. beyond says:

    @kchimko: Yeah, I know. But it says cooking them in trans fat offsite, which they all are apparently, is allowed. So again, what is the point of the ban? They banned trans fats but the foods are still loaded with trans fats, and thats okay with them. The ban does nothing.

  15. Chicago7 says:

    The “nanny state” haters just want to live in the woods, raising their own food and shooting everyone who comes near them.

    Was the government a “nanny state” when DARPA created the internet? You had better get off the internet, then?

  16. WV.Hillbilly says:

    The “nanny state” haters are sick of big brother telling us how to live our lives. The drinking age, bike helmets, motorcycle helmets, warning labels on everything. Coution: Do not insert in mouth or rectum.

    Does the government tell people to use the internet for their own good?
    Reductio ad absurdum.

    The CSPI is nothing more than a high pressure lobbying group that gets laws passed on their behalf tho “protect” the great unwashed.
    They’re PETA with more clout.

  17. Chicago7 says:

    Wo if there is arsenic in your water, you don’t want the government to stop it?

    If there is botulism in your bologna, it would be a “nanny state” if the government banned it?

  18. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Once again, reductio ad absurdum.

  19. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    The Wikipedia entry on CSPI is interesting:

    [en.wikipedia.org]

    Apparently it’s a private 501(c)(3) group with an agenda. That right there would lead me to be suspicious, and typically such organizations have a definite slant to their “research” and tend to overlook anything that doesn’t support the founder’s or members’ agenda (whatever it may be).

    My personal feeling is that the more consumers know, the more educated choices they can make. On the other hand, I don’t want the food police showing up at my door and arresting me because I’m over the limit on the transfat-o-lyzer. Feel free to inform me, but stay the hell out of my personal choices.

  20. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Oh, and here’s what the article on the founder of CSPI had to say:

    Jacobson is a vegetarian and sits on the national board of the “Great American Meatout.” He has said that “CSPI is proud of finding something wrong with practically everything.” Jacobson and his organization have criticized a wide variety of foods and beverages as unhealthful.

    So there you go. Another self-perpetuating group with an agenda.

  21. Why would people still eat at Burger King & Wendy’s?

    [www.tian.cc]

  22. atomicafro says:

    Wendy’s Frosty FTW!

  23. DJFelix says:

    I really hate this kind of tripe:

    “neither chain should threaten their customers’ health by making them wait one year for the full ban to take effect.”

    I missed the part of the article where it said that Burger King and Wendy’s where holding guns to people’s heads and forcing them to eat there. Oh .. they aren’t? My mistake.

    From that comment it sounds like people have no free will, and can’t be trusted to decide for themselves where to eat. My mistake.

    Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Why can’t people be expected to actually figure things out for themselves? Isn’t that the whole point of Consumerist? People collaborating together to figure out what is gold, what is BS, and making up their own minds … ignoring the propaganda, and getting real?

    This whole trans-fat thing just reeks of propaganda, and closed market socialism. You will only eat what the special interest group in power this year says is healthy. The state says it is so, and you must obey the state.

    New York makes me sick.