According to Reuters (yesterday): "New York City banned most artificial trans fats from restaurants on Tuesday, forcing national fast-food chains and mom-and-pop diners alike to phase out artery-clogging oils from their cooking."
"The law is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States and will require restaurants including McDonald's Corp. to eliminate trans fats by July 2007."
So, the rule went into effect yesterday, but the product doesn't have to change until this coming summer. And this is only for New York City McDonald's.
According to the Chicago Tribune, " McDonald's Corp. might not be able to meet New York City's proposed deadline for eliminating trans fats in its cooking oils, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said Thursday after meeting with a company official. Oak Brook-based McDonald's is struggling to find a substitute oil that preserves the flavor of its french fries, and isn't likely to do so before the July 2008 target, said Vallone, who met this past Monday with McDonald's lobbyist Patrick Theisen."
So, is it July of 2007 or 2008 for McDonald's?
In the same story an analyst from A.G. Edwards said, "The company is 'getting very close to perfecting the formulation' ".
According to the Wall Street Journal, to check out fast food french fries made without (or with reduced) trans fats, stop into one of these restaurants:
- Taco Bell
- Ruby Tuesday
"The science has changed,” (McDonald's CEO James) Skinner was quoted as saying. “You look at when we went to vegetable oil in the early 1990s, when that was the supportive science, ‘Oh you have to get out of saturated fats, you gotta get out of beef tallow,’ we made that change. Now the science has changed. Now it’s a TFA [trans fat] problem.” Skinner said he thought the concerns were being blown out of proportion. "It's more of a media thing," he was quoted as saying."
UPDATE: The McChronicles recommends this informative article regarding Trans Fat and McDonald's from BusinessWeek.com if you want to learn a bit more.
The McChronicles would like to see:
- McDonald's lead the way on this (too late)
- McDonald's take the high road (they're limping)
- McDonald's not whining about it (versus negotiating with city officials and ... well ... whining about it)
Will the french fry ever be the same? Maybe (it seems to be at Wendy's - their fries taste great). Or maybe not. How about reinventing the french fry? Or making it NOT about the french fry? Do something so outrageous that we all forget about it and fall in love with something else. Something healthier and tastier.
Or compromise with a technology you already have. Why not run with your Shaka Shaka Potato concept to cover the reduced flavor of a non-trans fat french fry?
What do you think about this trans fat issue? Please comment.
The McChronicles: a blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.