McDonald's lawsuit dismissed

February 3, 2003 in Food Companies, Manufacturing and Trends

McDonald's lawsuit dismissed

It went out the window faster than you can say 'clogged artery.'

The lawsuit that accused the McDonald's Corporation of deceiving its customers about the high levels of fat, sugar, salt and cholesterol in its products, was thrown out by a federal judge in Manhattan.

The suit, which sought class-action status on behalf of millions of children and teenagers who regularly eat at McDonald's, sought to hold the chain liable for obesity and other illnesses in young people.

In dismissing the suit, the judge, Robert W. Sweet of Federal District Court, said there was no evidence McDonald's had concealed information about the ingredients of its products. He also said it was widely known that fast food, and McDonald's products in particular, contained potentially harmful ingredients.

The ruling pointed out that nobody is forced to eat McDonald's food. Even more pertinent, nobody is forced to supersize their meal or choose less healthy options on the menu. As long as a consumer exercises free choice with appropriate knowledge, liability for negligence will not attach to a manufacturer.

But Judge Sweet also stated that the company had created some "franken-foods" that are altered during processing. He said if the plaintiffs could prove that the result was an added health hazard beyond the comprehension of the average consumer, they might have a better chance of pursuing their case.

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