Wednesday, December 06, 2006

McDonald's, New York City: Trans Fat Ruling

Trans Fat is in the news! According to an article in Forbes, New York City's "department of Health and Mental Hygiene, ... argues that the chemically modified ingredient (trans fat) kills 500 Gothamites each year".

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."

The article went on to say, "McDonald's Corp. has been trying since 2002 to reduce trans fats in its french fries.".

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:

  • Wendy's
  • KFC
  • Taco Bell
  • Arby's
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Chili's
The previously-cited Forbes article included this interesting tidbit:

"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 if you want to learn a bit more.

The McChronicles would like to see:

  1. McDonald's lead the way on this (too late)
  2. McDonald's take the high road (they're limping)
  3. McDonald's not whining about it (versus negotiating with city officials and ... well ... whining about it)
It's too late to make us proud, McDonald's. But there is still time to quiet down and comply with the ruling. You can see that this will spread like wild fire - so get with 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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The science hasn't changed. It was vegans who pushed for the elimination of beef lard. (Why would a vegan want to eat at McD anyway?) The science on artificial (hydrogenated) trans fats has been well known for decades. Trans fats kill. McD prefers to ignore the science. The real reason they don't want to switch is that the alternative oils cost a little more more. Their concern for the taste is a smoke screen. Are McD customers really that discriminating? They eat at McD after all.