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More Fast-Feeders Get Healthy

MIAMI -- Burger King became the first quick service restaurant chain to announce plans to limit sodium in all of its Kids Meals to children under 12 years old. The initiative limits sodium to 600 milligrams or less, beginning with its current advertised Kids Meals.

Burger King’s sodium limit is the latest in the fast-feeder’s "BK Positive Steps" commitment to help children eat and live better.

"We are proud to be the first quick service restaurant to publicly commit to limiting sodium in Kids Meals," said Burger King Corp. Chairman and CEO John W. Chidsey. "At Burger King Corp. we have made a strong, companywide commitment to help improve childhood nutrition and we will continue to dedicate resources to developing new Kids Meals that meet our stringent nutritional criteria, while also offering the taste and value that our customers expect from Burger King restaurants."

Burger King’s current advertised Kids Meal, consisting of age-appropriate portion sizes of nutritionally fortified Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, BK Fresh Apple Fries, fresh apples cut to look like French fries, with low-fat caramel dipping sauce, and Hershey’s 1 percent Low Fat Milk is the first meal to meet this enhanced criteria. At 340 calories, this Kids Meal has just 505 milligrams of sodium and is a source of calcium and vitamin D, and a source of potassium. It also provides a half-cup serving of fresh fruit and an 8-ounce serving of low-fat milk. Other Kids Meal options that meet the new criteria are currently in development and will be rolled out by summer 2009.

Burger King's new nutritional criteria supplements its advertising pledge to the Council for Better Business Bureaus' (CBBB) Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, in which Burger King committed to limit 100 percent of its advertising to children under 12 years old to meals that meet nutritional criteria, based on federal dietary guidance.

Meanwhile, Friendly’s also revealed last week it will ban artificial trans fat from its entire menu and will be using a high mono-unsaturated canola oil product.

"We are very excited to announce this new action and offer an artificial trans fat free menu to our customers," said Maura Tobias, director of public affairs and communications for Friendly's Restaurants. "We believe the local communities where our restaurants are located will support the decision, as it demonstrates our dedication to providing the very best food for our customers."