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Trans Fat Freedom

Yum Brands, Inc. announced this morning that its 5,500 U.S. KFC stores will replace partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in most menu items (it hasn’t found a good alternative for biscuits) with soybean oil by April 2007. That means cutting out most trans fat, a big step for a big industry. (Yum had revenue of more than $9 billion in the last year.)

Yum said its other properties, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s, and A&W, are also looking into eliminating trans fats. Wendy’s already went trans-fat free, and McDonald’s is continuing to “test in earnest” for alternatives. Fast food may be the final frontier of trans fat, which contributes to coronary heart disease and which Harvard researchers estimate causes 30,000 U.S. deaths a year.

Starting January 1, 2006, the FDA required trans fat content to be listed on nutritional labels. And today, New York City’s Board of Health is holding a hearing to decide if it should be the first city to ban trans fat in its restaurants.

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