A lawsuit against KFC for using trans fats in its fried chicken has been thrown out. In an appropriately sarcastic ruling, federal district judge James Robertson dismissed the lawsuit, observing that it was so meritless that it could not pass muster even under Washington, D.C.’s broad consumer “protection” law.
The suit against KFC made little sense on health grounds. Trans fats, while unhealthy, aren’t much unhealthier than traditional saturated fats.
Moreover, fried chicken, which contains valuable protein, is far from the most unhealthy food. Kentucky Fried Chicken has a better protein-to-fat ratio than many common dinner items or restaurant meals. It’s a lot healthier than foie gras. But since it’s fairly cheap and lacks snob appeal, its putative health risks get put under a microscope.
Since the suit, KFC has stopped using trans fats in its fried chicken.
Ironically enough, the suit against KFC was backed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which once taught that trans fats were safer than saturated fat.
CSPI has helped to blur the distinction between unhealthy and normal foods over the years, by denigrating normal food items such as baked potatoes, hamburgers, pizza, and pork chops as unhealthy.
Never mind that a baked potato has only 100 calories, and gives you 30 percent of your day’s supply of vitamin C (more than a banana), some protein, and many important minerals — and that potatoes are so cheap that even a person of modest means can afford them. The introduction of the potato in Europe saved generations of peasants from starvation and nutritional diseases.