McDonald's Corp. will pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit accusing the
fast-food giant of failing to inform consumers of delays in a plan to reduce fat
in the cooking oil used for its popular french fries and other foods.BanTransFats.com, a nonprofit advocacy group, sued McDonald's in California state court in 2003, alleging the company did not effectively disclose to the public that it had not switched to a healthier cooking oil.In September 2002, McDonald's announced it would lower trans fat in its cooking oils and said the switch would be completed in five months.
In February 2003, McDonald's announced a delay. The lawsuit accused the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company of failing to adequately inform consumers of that delay.The agreement announced Wednesday requires McDonald's to pay $7 million to the American Heart Association to use the proceeds to educate the public about trans fats in foods. Heart-clogging trans fat is made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil — a process called hydrogenation. Wednesday's settlement also requires McDonald's to spend $1.5 million publicizing that it has not followed through on its 2002 pledge.
McDonald's also seems to have lost a legal battle in the European Court of Human Rights (click here or here or here or here for the full story):
Two British activists convicted of libelling the U.S. fast food chain McDonald's have won a reversal of the decision at the European Court of Human Rights. The Strasbourg-based court ruled on Tuesday that Helen Steel and David Morris did not receive a fair trial and their freedom of expression was violated by the 1997 judgment ordering them to pay 60,000 sterling in damages. The two had issued a pamphlet in 1984 accusing McDonald's of starving the Third World, destroying rainforests and selling unhealthy food. Their trial was the longest in English legal history.
Two activists won their appeal in the "McLibel" case