Thursday, February 12, 2004

Bill shields fast-food firms from fat suits

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Lawmakers Wednesday recommended passage of a bill to protect burger joints and other food suppliers from lawsuits filed by people who claim they got fat eating the companies' products.

The House Civil and Commercial Law Committee unanimously approved the bill, which Chairman Bill Seitz said is designed to protect companies from consumers' overindulgent behavior. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

Food suppliers still would be accountable if they promised their products would help customers lose weight but made them fatter, said Seitz, R-Green Township.

They also would be responsible if their products included harmful ingredients or caused diseases such as food poisoning, he said.

"It's about striking the appropriate balance," Seitz said.

The bill, in part, was in response to a lawsuit filed last year against McDonald's in federal court in New York. The lawsuit alleged that McDonald's had been hiding health risks of eating Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets. It was the second time that U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet threw out a class-action lawsuit that blamed McDonald's for making people fat.

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