LAWSUIT AGAINST OREO COOKIES DROPPED

Publicity Helped Educate Consumers About Fat, Plaintiff Says

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- A lawyer seeking to ban the sale of Oreos to California children has dropped his lawsuit, saying that the publicity surrounding the filing was enough to help educate consumers about the dangers of trans fatty acids found in Oreos and other products.

"The factual and legal basis for the

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lawsuit when it was filed was that the American people did not know about trans fat," Stephen Joseph said in a press release on his Web site, www.bantransfat.com. "The American people were being kept in the dark by the food manufacturers. The word 'trans fat' is not even on food labels."

'Concern for public health'
Michael Mudd, a spokesman for Kraft Foods North America, maker of Oreo cookies, said, "We're very pleased with the decision. We share a concern for public health, and Kraft is doing its part. We continue to believe that the courts are not the place to make nutrition policy."

Mr. Joseph asserts on his Web site that Kraft's efforts to reduce trans fatty acids in its products came as a result of the lawsuit, but Mr. Mudd said the efforts have been under way for some time. In addition, Kraft maintains it has supported the disclosure of trans fat on nutrition labels.

Trans fatty acids have been linked to high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.

Krafts stock price continues to dip, possibly due to the heavy media coverage swirling around the lawsuit. Shares stood at $30.77 in late-morning trading, down 32 cents from yesterday's close.

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