Excerpts from:'Legal terrorist'
gives fast food groups touch of indigestion
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH(LONDON) June 20, 2003
FAST food companies yesterday received a letter from a top legal activist
telling them to put health warnings on burgers or face potentially ruinous
Banzhaf, the self-styled "legal terrorist" who led successful assaults
on the tobacco industry, told chief executives to post signs in restaurants
telling customers that scientific studies on animals show that eating fast
food can be addictive.
"A heavy fast-food diet over time blocks the normal mechanism in the brain
that produces hormones that tell us to stop eating when we are full," he
wrote to McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell
and Pizza Hut.
Mr Banzhaf won a case against McDonald's for using beef fat in fries it claimed
were vegetarian, but so far lawsuits blaming the industry for obesity have
been thrown out. His letter notes "a growing body of evidence" that fast food
"can act on the brain the same way as nicotine or heroin".
The future of the entire industry, which has revenues of hundreds of billions
of dollars and employs millions of people across the world, is at stake.
Mr Banzhaf said the letter puts companies on notice that they have a duty
to tell customers about the potential dangers of fast food.
The lawyer believes he is leading a moral crusade against an industry that
is simply bad for society.
Yesterday he gave evidence to a congressional committee that is considering
a bill which would give fast food a degree of protection from obesity lawsuits.