KFC Stops Telling Whoppers


The Kentucky Fried Chicken people (KFC Corp.) have agreed to stop advertising their product as healthier than eating a Burger King Corp. Whopper or saying it is compatible with a low-carbohydrate weight-loss program.

That promise came in the settlement of an FTC complaint for false and misleading advertising against a couple of TV ads that made both claims. The ads appeared to have been based on a kernel (or should that be Colonel) of truth that grew into a tall tale.

By settling, the company doesn't have to admit to any wrongdoing, but it does have to stop marketing its food as healthy unless it can back it up with scientific evidence.

The TV ads had included "fine print" disclaimers that the chicken was not a low fat, low sodium or low cholesterol food. The FTC went further in its complaint (in normal size print) and pointed out that while KFC had slightly less total fat (38 g. v. 43 g.), the basis for KFC's crowing about health, the chicken had more saturated fat, more trans fat, more cholesterol, more sodium, and more calories.

Coincidentally or not, the settlement Thursday came the same day that Federal Trade Commission Chairman Tim Muris was defending his agency's regulation of food ads at a summit on obesity.