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03/09/02 . by Lisa Reynolds and Judy Bocklage . Dow Jones Newswires . U.S.A.  
McDonald's to Cut Trans-Fatty Acids in Fried Foods Served in U.S.Restaurants  
OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp. said it will reduce trans-fatty acids, or TFAs, in french fries, Chicken McNuggets and other fried items on its U.S. menu by February, using an "improved" cooking oil.  

Trans-fatty acids are now feared to create at least as much of a risk for heart disease as saturated fats.

The fast-food restaurant chain operator said Tuesday that the new oil will reduce TFA levels in french fries by 48% and saturated fat by 16% while more than doubling polyunsaturated fat. The total fat content in the fries remains unchanged.

"A majority of nutrition professionals have maintained that McDonald's food can be a part of a healthy diet based on the sound nutrition principles of balance, variety and moderation," Ann Rusniak, McDonald's chief nutritionist, said in a statement. "However," she added, "there is no question that reducing TFAs and saturated fat and increasing polyunsaturates delivers added health dividends based on the latest nutrition research."

McDonald's will begin using the new oil in October, and plans to use it at all 13,000 domestic locations by February. The company plans to use the new oil to make Filet-O-Fish, hash browns and crispy chicken sandwiches in addition to fries and Chicken McNuggets.

McDonald's worked with long-time supplier Cargill Inc. to find the right formula for the oil to be used in U.S. restaurants.

The move comes three weeks after a 272-pound man sued McDonald's and three other fast-food chains, alleging they caused his obesity. Company executives insist the move is unrelated, saying the change had been planned for years.

McDonald's Chairman and Chief Executive Jack M. Greenberg said the company is working toward reducing TFAs world-wide as available crop supplies, trade restrictions, regulations and customer acceptance allow.

The reduction of TFAs and saturated fat will put McDonald's USA in line with comparable levels in McDonald's Europe.  
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