McDonald's cooking oil trans fat-free in U.S., Canada

A large order of McDonald's french fries is shown May 22, 2008. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich

OAK BROOK, Illinois (Reuters) - McDonald’s Corp has switched to cooking oils free of trans fats in all of its restaurants in the United States and Canada, Chief Executive Jim Skinner said on Thursday.

The restaurants made the switch over the past few months, he said.

By the end of the year, McDonald’s pies and other baked goods will also be free of trans fats, Skinner told the company’s annual meeting.

Consumption of trans fats -- often in the form of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils -- increases the risk of coronary heart disease, according to health authorities.

McDonald’s, the world’s largest hamburger chain, was among the first to say it would stop using unhealthy oils, but it has been slow to make the change.

Wendy’s, the third-largest hamburger chain, swapped to trans fat-free cooking oil in 2006. Yum Brands Inc’s KFC and Taco Bell chains in the United States completed such a switch last year.

Burger King Holdings Inc, the second-largest burger chain, has promised to switch its U.S. outlets to trans fat-free oils by year-end.

Reporting by Brad Dorfman and Lisa Baertlein; editing by John Wallace