Fast food giant McDonald’s is to cut the amount of dangerous trans fats in products sold in the UK.
McDonald’s says it will bring in a new blend of cooking oil by mid-2008 at 6,300 outlets across Europe.
The oil will have a maximum trans fat content of 2 per cent and maximum saturated fat content of 12 per cent.
The chain said it will ‘reduce substantially’ the trans fats – linked to increased cholesterol levels and a greater risk of heart disease – in French fries, fried chicken, fish, pies and other products.
Each product serving will have a trans fat content of less than 0.5 grams and no noticeable difference in taste, says the company.
Trans fat levels in the chain’s food served in Europe currently average 10 per cent compared with 30 per cent in the early 1990s.
McDonald’s Europe spokeswoman Karen van Bergen said it would be impossible to banish trans fats completely without increasing saturated fat content.
She said: ‘We have to keep the taste and quality of the product. If we were to replace the oil with trans fat-free we would very much increase saturated fats. We have chosen not to do that because we are looking at a balance.’
The announcement comes after rival chain KFC pledged to stop using trans fats in the UK ‘as soon as possible’.
Which? food expert Julie Lennard said:’It’s good news that McDonald’s has pledged to cut trans fat in its food. When we tested some McDonald’s products in 2004, we found 3g of trans fat per portion, which was one of the highest we found among fast foods and processed foods. Research shows that just 1g of trans fat eaten each day over many years significantly increases your risk of heart disease.’