WASHINGTON – A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday that had been brought by a doctor who accused the KFC fast foods restaurant chain of failing to tell customers that it used trans fats to fry its chicken.
In an occasionally sarcastic opinion, U.S. District Judge James Robertson said Dr. Arthur Hoyte could not show that he was harmed by KFC 's use of the artery-clogging fats.
That was enough to doom the lawsuit, but Robertson also noted other flaws in the case.
"While it might be appropriate for this court to find, as a matter of law, that the consumption of fat — including trans fat — is indeed within the reasonable expectations of the consumers of fried chicken and french fries prepared in fast food kitchens, it is not necessary for me to reach that question," Robertson wrote.
And in response to Hoyte's claim that customers have a growing understanding of the dangers of trans fats, Robertson wrote: "If consumers are increasingly aware of trans fat, where do they expect to find it if not in fast food restaurants?"
Nonetheless, customers will no longer consume trans fats with KFC's chicken, according to the restaurant chain.
KFC's parent company, Kentucky-based Yum Brands Inc. (YUM), announced Monday that all 5,500 of its U.S. restaurants have stopped frying chicken in trans fat. The company had said in October that it was switching to a new soybean oil believed to be less likely to cause heart disease. The lawsuit was filed last year, before the change.