A federal court in California has approved the settlement of class claims against Wendy’s International, Inc. involving its use of trans fats in fried food products. Yoo v. Wendy’s Int’l, Inc., No. 07-04515 (C.D. Cal., filed March 13, 2009). In its revised order and final judgment, the court overruled objections to the settlement, certified a nationwide settlement class and dismissed the complaint with prejudice. The defendant was ordered to add $450,000 plus interest to the $1.8 million already in an escrow account to be divided equally among the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, American Dietetic Association, and American Heart Association.

The court also ordered the defendant to ensure that its fried foods are cooked in oil containing a level of trans fat per serving that “can be represented as 0 grams of trans fat,” under Food and Drug Administration regulations. Wendy’s was further ordered to “pay for and subject its Fried Food to independent monitoring for one year to assure [sic] compliance.” Class counsel was awarded $1.09 million plus interest, and the four named plaintiffs were awarded either $3,500 or $1,500 depending on whether they were deposed before the case settled.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.