KFC to ditch harmful trans fatsUK outlets to follow US lead 'as soon as possible'

31 October 2006

KFC logo on wall

One of the world’s biggest fast food chains is to ditch dangerous trans fats from most of the foods it serves at its US restaurants.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) said it also hoped to be able to remove the harmful fats - linked to increased cholesterol levels and a greater risk of heart disease - from its UK outlets ‘as soon as possible’.

But KFC’s International Public Affairs Director Christophe Lecureuil said consumer tests in Britain were just starting.

He told the Press Association: ‘If the consumer tests in the UK are successful we hope to be removing trans fats as soon as possible from all the products in the UK. The sooner we can do it the better. We think the tests will be successful. We want to do it.’

Consumer testing

After the consumer testing, expected be carried out at a couple of outlets and to last ‘a few months’, there will be a further period of testing the new oil in the UK.

Which? Principal Researcher Julie Lennard said: ‘Our investigation in 2004 found that the amount of trans fat in a KFC meal varied depending on the branch. Those run directly by KFC used trans fats while the franchised shops didn't – they used non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.

‘That shows that KFC already knows it can take trans fats off the menu and it’s disappointing it hasn't taken them out already.’

Trans fats occur naturally in small amounts in dairy products and meat, but they're also formed artificially when manufacturers hydrogenate liquid vegetable fat or oil.

Hydrogenation turns the fat solid, altering the texture of food, and also extends a food's shelf life.

Trans fat ban

The KFC announcement was made as a public hearing began in New York over plans to ban trans fats in all its 25,000 restaurants.

The city's health board is also considering a plan to force some eateries to list calorie counts next to each dish on their menus.