Cancer Survivor Sues over Grilled Chicken Carcinogen
Fast-food companies market grilled chicken as a healthful option, but most consumers have no idea that the products harbor a dangerous carcinogen. Two Connecticut residents have teamed up with The Cancer Project to file a class-action lawsuit demanding that Burger King, Friendly’s, and McDonald’s warn customers that their grilled chicken products contain PhIP, a chemical that increases cancer risk even in small amounts.
The lawsuit, filed in October in Connecticut Superior Court, states that the three restaurants are in clear violation of the state’s consumer protection law. Rebecca Delio, one of the Connecticut plaintiffs, ate fast-food grilled chicken weekly before being diagnosed with breast cancer about a year ago. She was alarmed to learn that grilled chicken increased her cancer risk.
PhIP is one of a group of carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). PhIP and other HCAs form when animal muscle is cooked at high temperatures. Longer cooking times and hotter temperatures produce more HCAs, which make grilling, panfrying, and oven broiling particularly dangerous cooking methods. Fried chicken, which contains high levels of saturated fat, is also unhealthful.
“Consumers deserve to know that grilled chicken from McDonald’s and other fast-food chains can increase their risk of cancer,” says Neal Barnard, M.D., president of The Cancer Project. “Even a grilled-chicken salad increases the risk of developing breast cancer or prostate cancer.”
Other fast-food chains are also feeling the heat on PhIP. In September, PCRM filed a lawsuit in San Francisco against Kentucky Fried Chicken for violating California’s Proposition 65. The chicken chain failed to warn consumers that its new grilled chicken product contains this dangerous carcinogen.