Fast-Food Restaurants Demanded to Warn of Addiction


McLean, Virginia-Fast food's biggest playersreceived a jolting demand from the law professor who helped bringBig Tobacco to its knees: Display warning notices about the allegedaddictive nature of fatty foods.

John Banzhaf III, of George Washington University, sent thedemand in certified letters to CEOs at six major fast-foodchains-McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, TacoBell and Pizza Hut-as a necessary first step, he says, towardfiling a lawsuit against the fast-food giants within six to ninemonths. What he is demanding is the posting of signs in allrestaurants warning customers that studies on animals have shownthat eating fatty foods causes addiction-like reactions.

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

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