Colonel Sanders has found his conscience: after being threatened by lawsuits in the US, Kentucky Fried Chicken announced that come April of next year, all of its restaurants in the US will cease using oils containing the harmful trans-fats that have been linked to heart disease.
Earlier this year, McDonald’s ran into some trouble when it was discovered that there was one third more trans-fats in their fries than previously thought. This was the result of a new testing method, and it sent shockwaves throughout the world as people realized that their arteries were clogging up much faster than they had supposed. China was no exception, and McDonald’s China was forced to respond to public concern. They did this by claiming, on February 11 of this year, that they used olive oil to cook their fries. On February 12, just one day later, they changed their minds and said that what they meant to say was that they used palm oil, which contains little or no trans-fat. They explained the error as being a “translation problem.” Significantly, KFC and McDonald’s in China have claimed that unlike their US counterparts, they do not use oils high in trans-fat.
However, what is interesting about the article in which we read this is the last paragraph, where we found out that China doesn’t have health standards regarding trans-fat and neither does it have any methods of testing for trans-fat levels. This means that we really have no idea, in China, how much trans-fat we are consuming when we go to KFC or McDonald’s. To make matters more confusing, there’s also this article which asks whether China should emulate New York City in banning trans-fats and fining companies or restaurants that violate health standards. Yet without the proper methods and standards of testing the foods as well as the means of enforcing these regulations, we’re doubtful that the war on trans-fats is going to go very far in China.