November 19, 2003

2 Min Read
KFC Ads Draw CSPI Fire

WASHINGTON--The high-protein, low-carb craze is making everyone see dollar signs--even fast food restaurants. On Nov. 6, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) from running ads proclaiming its fried chicken could be part of a healthy diet. "I urge FTC immediately enjoin two KFC television advertisements that are now being shown nationally," wrote Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., CSPI executive director, in his letter to FTC.

The two ads in question involve comparing Burger King's Whopper®, which has 43 g of fat, to two KFC Original Recipe® chicken breasts, which have 38 g of fat. However, KFC is promoting the fact that, once the skin is removed, a breast only has 3 g of fat. "That may be accurate," Jacobson wrote in his letter to FTC, "but it is rather disingenuous considering how few people eat KFC's fried chicken without its breading and skin."

According to Reuters, FTC is looking into the complaint, and KFC plans to pull the current ads Nov. 21, per its media schedule, and will run new ads in this vein starting after Thanksgiving.

"KFC takes what could be a perfectly good food and makes it almost as bad for you as possible, short of covering it in melted cheese or cream sauce," Jacobson said.. "These ads don't tell the truth. These ads take the truth, dip it in batter and deep fry it."

According to Scott Bergren, KFC's executive vice president, marketing and food innovation, the company is within its rights to promote eating its chicken--as long as it's done responsibly. "We want to set the record straight. Consumers should no longer feel guilty about eating fried chicken," he said. "Consumers will be surprised to learn they can enjoy fried chicken as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Of course, they should eat all food in moderation, and balance that with an appropriate amount of exercise--it's all about energy in, energy out."

FTC did not return INSIDER's calls for comment by press time.

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