News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinenature-healthhealthcancer — Viewing Item

Cancer french fries { July 3 2002 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Sellers of French Fries May Face Suits
Food: Two California environmental groups plan to target companies that fail to warn of a suspected carcinogen.
Times Staff Writer

July 3 2002

Two California environmental groups have notified the state attorney general's office of their intent to sue the nation's top sellers of French fries under California's Proposition 65, which requires manufacturers to warn consumers of toxic chemicals in their products.

They hope their action will prompt the state to probe the matter and possibly file its own suit, an action the state attorney general's office said it is considering.

The chemical they're seeking a warning for is acrylamide, a suspected carcinogen. A recent Swedish government study found high levels of the chemical in fatty starchy foods cooked at high temperatures, such as French fries.

In one test, McDonald's French fries were found to contain 300 times the amount of acrylamide allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency for a glass of water.

The two groups hope to use the 1986 state law to force McDonald's and Burger King to put a warning on their packaging in California, or reformulate their fries.

One of the two groups—Southern California-based Environmental World Watch—also is seeking similar action from grocery manufacturers whose products have been found to contain high levels of acrylamide.

"We hope this is going to erupt into a full-scale investigation on the part of the food industry" to determine the source of the carcinogen, said Robert J. Mandell, a Northridge attorney representing Environmental World Watch.

Acrylamide is on the state's list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Scientists have generally not associated it with food, but as a water treatment, an ingredient in packaging and as a byproduct of cigarette smoke.

The state's listing does not call acrylamide a human carcinogen, but it is on the list of chemicals that require a consumer warning on packaging, or a warning in the stores and restaurants where products containing it are sold, said Ed Weil, a deputy attorney general based in Oakland.

Scientists at a World Health Organization meeting last week in Geneva called the April discovery of acrylamide in food a "major concern." But they urged more research and did not caution people to change their diets.

The Food and Drug Administration has not issued any warnings on acrylamide. But it has launched a new round of research to determine which foods contain high levels of the suspected carcinogen and how it is formed.

Both Environmental World Watch and a six-member coalition of environmentalists and academics have given the California attorney general's office 60-day notice of their intent to file suit, a move that typically lets the office decide if it wants to take action.

Weil said the state is considering the matter and will make an announcement in coming weeks.

"We've been looking at it since the story first broke," Weil said.

A spokesman for Burger King said the suits don't "make sense" because the discovery of acrylamide in food is so new.

"There's a lot that still needs to be understood about the effects of these levels [of acrylamide]," said Burger King's Rob Doughty.

Likewise, McDonald's executives said the suit was premature.

In a statement, the company called the suit "inappropriate" and said that "flooding" Californians with labels related to all baked and fried foods would "undermine the purpose of Prop. 65 by devaluing labeling in general."

Environmental attorneys argue that everyone, even food companies, must follow state regulations.

"If your product contains a carcinogen and you know that it contains this carcinogen, you are obligated under California law to warn the consumer," Mandell said. "It's as simple as that."
If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at For information about reprinting this article, go to


Copyright 2002 Los Angeles Times

1mil new skin cancer { May 27 2003 }
20 cancer fighting foods to eat all summer
African american women higher breast cancer { December 7 2003 }
All types of alcohol raise cancer risk
Antibiotic use causes cancer
Asians get cancer when in america
Asians low cancer rate
Beta carotene supplements
Blacks more likely die cancer
Breast cancer link to use of antibiotics
Breast cancer risk reduced by exercise
Broccoli helps prevent cancer { April 20 2005 }
California sues mcdonalds and potato chips over cancer
Cancer broccoli { May 28 2002 }
Cancer causing drug found in british poultry { October 21 2004 }
Cancer causing pesticides living in our bodies { June 21 2005 }
Cancer deaths decline first time since 1930 { February 9 2006 }
Cancer french fries { July 3 2002 }
Car exhausts may cause child cancer
Carbohydrates could be linked to breast cancer { August 9 2004 }
Carcinogen sealed glass jar foods
Carrots help cut cancer risk
Curry fights cancer
Curry fights prostate cancer study says { January 17 2006 }
Curry shuts down melanoma cancer tumors
Diet alcohol linked to one third cancer cases { May 20 2004 }
Diet and tobacco account for most cancer
Diet responsible for half cancers says fox files [wav]
Doctor in africa discovers western diet is cancerous { February 28 1911 }
Eating red meat increases risk of colon cancer
Eu beef cancer { May 4 1999 }
Fatty diet linked to cancer { March 21 2007 }
Garlic wards off cancer
Good night sleep fights cancer
Green tea cuts risk of cancer
Green tea reduces risk prostate cancer
Hair dyes linked to kind of cancer { January 24 2004 }
High fat diet increases breast cancer risk
High fat linked breast cancer { July 18 2003 }
High fiber reduces colon cancer { May 2 2003 }
High sugar diet linked to cancer { March 21 2007 }
Hormones in milk are linked to cancer
Meat and alcohol cause breast cancer
Meats and sweets boost cancer risk { July 10 2007 }
Microwaving plastic causes cancer in foods
Milk cause of cancer
Miso soup cuts breast cancer { June 18 2003 }
More causes cancer
Natural solutions for estrogen
New study says sun screen ineffective { June 15 2006 }
Nonfat milk linked to prostate cancer
Obesity linked to cancer { January 9 2006 }
One third cancer caused by diet
Pill linked to cancer { April 3 2003 }
Processed meats raise risk of cancer
Prostate testing debate
Red meat cancer { April 30 1996 }
Red meat diets cause cancer { April 7 2004 }
Red meat fuels bowel cancer risk { June 15 2005 }
Redheads risk of skin cancer without burns { August 29 2005 }
Regular aspirin use linked to cancer cases { January 9 2004 }
Study links breast cancer to antibiotic use { February 16 2004 }
Sun exposure may aid skin cancer victims { February 2 2005 }
Sunlight vit d prevents breast colon lung prostate cancer
Sunscreen blamed skin cancer
Sunscreens fails to prevent free radicals
Sunshine helps fight against breast cancer { August 4 2007 }
Sunshine may protect prostate from cancer { June 15 2005 }
Tea may fight ovarian cancer
Toxin in pet food eaten by chickens fed to people { May 4 2007 }
Toxins in the kitchen { May 4 2007 }
Vegetables and soy combats cancer
Vegetarian diet helps man fight cancer { June 7 2007 }
Vitamins tied to prostate cancer
Western asians higher cancer than eastern { June 1 2001 }
White wine increase risk of cancer
Women double risk for lung cancer { December 2 2003 }
Women plagued by lung cancer

Files Listed: 78


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple