In a press release this morning, McDonald’s USA announced it plans to significantly reduce trans fatty acids (TFAs) in its fried menu items with the introduction of improved cooking oil in all of its 13,000 restaurants

The new oil will reduce French fry TFA levels by 48 percent, reduce saturated fat by 16 percent and dramatically increase polyunsaturated fat by 167 percent. While the total fat content in the fries remains unchanged, health experts agree that reducing TFAs and saturates while increasing polyunsaturates is beneficial to heart health.

. The national rollout of the improved cooking oil begins in October 2002 and will be completed by February 2003, according to McDonalds, who plans to use the new oil to prepare McDonald’s French fries, Chicken McNuggets, Filet-O-Fish, Hash Browns and crispy chicken sandwiches.

Also, Jack M. Greenberg, McDonald’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, announced that McDonald’s is working towards a worldwide reduction of TFAs through enhanced cooking oils as available crop supplies, trade restrictions, country-by-country regulations and customer acceptance allow. As an example, the significant reduction of TFAs and saturated fat will put McDonald’s USA in line with McDonald’s Europe which already has attained comparable levels.

Ann Rusniak, RD and McDonald’s chief nutritionist, said, “A majority of nutrition professionals have maintained that McDonald’s food can be a part of a healthy diet based on the sound nutrition principles of balance, variety and moderation. However, there is no question that reducing TFAs and saturated fat and increasing polyunsaturates delivers added health dividends based on the latest nutrition research.”

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