Filed Under: Food Police Food Scares

CSPI Files Already Expired Lawsuit

Wondering if the food police are more concerned with self-promotion than with public health? Here’s your answer. This morning the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sued Burger King over "alarming levels of trans fat" found in its food. Here’s the rub: CSPI’s charges are nearly identical to those in its other trans-fat lawsuit, which was thrown out of court two weeks ago:Count I: Burger King has violated the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by "failing to disclose" that it prepares its food with trans fat.Count II: Burger King has breached the "implied warranty of merchantability" — legal speak for the idea that companies have to notify their customers if the product they’re selling is potentially dangerous.Replace the word "Burger King" with "KFC" and you’ve basically got the case Federal Judge James Robertson sarcastically dismissed earlier this month. (Click here for the full text of the Burger King lawsuit, and here for the KFC lawsuit.)Robertson ruled that CSPI did not have "standing" to sue because it couldn’t prove that trans fats had actually done all the horrible things it claimed. He said CSPI’s argument that trans-fat-laden food puts customers in danger "is based on a misunderstanding of the law." And he found that even if CSPI did somehow have standing, the notion that fast-food restaurants are deceiving their customers about trans fat is "a questionable premise at best."Today’s Burger King boondoggle gets even more absurd when you consider that the popular chain has already announced its intentions to phase out trans fat. It’s still using the much-maligned ingredient now because — surprise, surprise — it takes a while to significantly overhaul the cooking procedures of 7,000-plus restaurants.

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