Fast-Food Restaurants Demanded to Warn of Addiction

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McLean, Virginia-Fast food's biggest players received a jolting demand from the law professor who helped bring Big Tobacco to its knees: Display warning notices about the alleged addictive nature of fatty foods.

John Banzhaf III, of George Washington University, sent the demand in certified letters to CEOs at six major fast-food chains-McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut-as a necessary first step, he says, toward filing a lawsuit against the fast-food giants within six to nine months. What he is demanding is the posting of signs in all restaurants warning customers that studies on animals have shown that eating fatty foods causes addiction-like reactions.

At stake is the future direction of the $115 billion fast-food industry-and perhaps the entire food industry. A potential flood of obesity-related lawsuits could cost the restaurant industry hundreds of millions of dollars, legal experts say. Industry executives say that could result in job losses and restaurant closings. "There should be common sense in the food court, not blaming other people in the legal court," says Rep. Rick Keller (R-FL), co-sponsor of a bill introduced to a House subcommittee that would essentially ban fast-food lawsuits such as the one Banzhaf is proposing. "Nobody is forced to super-size their fast-food meals." -USA Today

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