Jim Porter: Is grilled chicken bad for you? | SierraSun.com
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Jim Porter: Is grilled chicken bad for you?

McDonaldand#8217;s, TGI Fridayand#8217;s, Applebeeand#8217;s, Chick-Fil-A (huh?), Chiliand#8217;s, Outback Steakhouse and Burger King all sell grilled chicken. It is supposedly better for us than red meat.

But not according to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, who sued those restaurants claiming their grilled chicken contains carcinogenic chemicals. Iand#8217;m assuming the claim has to do with the charred part of grilled chicken, but I donand#8217;t really know. The case did not say. What I do know is the charred part of the chicken is the best part.

In 1986, California voters approved Prop 65 which requires the state to maintain a list of chemicals known to cause cancer.



The list is exhaustive, in fact, so inclusive that many large buildings in the state have a sign or plaque warning of Prop 65 cancer-causing materials, which of course makes the warning as ineffective as the health warnings on cigarette packages.

The restaurants that were sued claimed the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act, which regulates poultry products and promotes thoroughly cooked chicken, preempts the area of law governing chickens, including grilled chickens, so Prop 65 was not applicable. The trial court agreed and threw out the case.



The Court of Appeal disagreed, so the Physicians Committee is allowed to continue its Prop 65 case in California. A victory for the committee.

However, the California Court of Appeal ruled there was not enough evidence that the restaurantsand#8217; grilled chicken was so carcinogenic that it requires a Prop 65 warning. Further evidence is needed.

Additionally, the Court of Appeal determined that the code-specified Safe Harbor Warning, if the grilled chicken is ultimately found to be significantly carcinogenic, is sufficient: and#8220;WARNING: chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer, or birth defects or other reproductive harm may be present in foods or beverages sold or served here.and#8221;

The Physicians Committee had argued for a specific Prop 65 carcinogen warning mentioning and#8220;grilled chickenand#8221; or and#8220;well cooked chicken.and#8221; That part of the case was a victory for the restaurants. Bottom line and#8212; this case is not over.

At a minimum you will see the Prop 65 Safe Harbor Warning in all restaurants that sell grilled chicken, if it is not already posted.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village and Reno. He is a mediator and was the Governorand#8217;s appointee to the Fair Political Practices Commission and McPherson Commission, both involving election law and the Political Reform Act. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or at the firmand#8217;s web site http://www.portersimon.com.


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