Taco Bell to Halt Use of Trans Fats

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Responding to health-conscious diners, Taco Bell will be the latest fast-food giant to cut artery-clogging trans fats from its cooking oils.

The nation's largest seller of quick service Mexican-style foods uses the oils to fry its nachos, taco salad shells, potatoes, chalupa shells and other items. The company's Warren Widicus said the change has been in the making for more than two years.

Trans fats, which have been linked to heart disease, are being removed from many fast food kitchens nationwide. Wendy's and KFC have already switched to a zero-trans fat oil, and McDonald's is considering the change.

Taco Bell is owned by Louisville, Ky., based Yum Brands, the parent of Pizza Hut and KFC, which announced last month that it was switching to a non-trans fat oil.

Taco Bell said all 5,000 of its single-brand restaurants in the United States will change from a partially hydrogenated soybean oil to a trans fat-free canola oil by April 2007. About 100 restaurants have already made the change.