Thursday, September 4, 2003 Posted: 6:54 PM EDT (2254 GMT)
McDonald's says its food "can fit into a healthy, well-balanced diet."
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A federal judge Thursday threw out a class-action lawsuit filed by two Bronx teenagers claiming McDonald's used false advertising and that the chain's food made them fat and contributed to their health problems.
The plaintiffs' lawyers claimed unknown ingredients and processing made foods such as french fries, Chicken McNuggets and Filet-O-Fish sandwiches damaging to consumers' health.
"The plaintiffs have made no explicit allegations that they witnessed any particular deceptive advertisement, and they have not provided McDonald's with enough information to determine whether its products are the cause of the alleged injuries," said U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet.
"Finally, the one advertisement which plaintiffs implicitly allege to have caused their injuries is objectively non-deceptive."
Sweet ruled the plaintiffs could not re-file the lawsuit. In January, the judge dismissed an earlier version of the suit but allowed them to file again with revisions.
Sweet said in his first ruling that McDonald's cannot be blamed by consumers who choose to eat there.
"If a person knows or should know that eating copious orders of super-sized McDonald's products is unhealthy and may result in weight gain," Sweet said in the January ruling, "it is not the place of the law to protect them from their own excesses."
"We trusted that common sense would prevail in this case, and it did," McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa Howard said in a statement released from the company's Oak Brook, Illinois, headquarters.
"Today's dismissal is further recognition that the courtroom is not the appropriate forum to address this important issue.
"McDonald's food can fit into a healthy, well-balanced diet based upon the choice and variety available on our menu."
The company said more than 20 million people eat at McDonald's in the United States every day.
"I think you should contact my lawyer. He has my reaction," Roberta Pelman, mother of plaintiff Ashley Pelman, told CNN. The plaintiffs' lawyer, Samuel Hirsch, said he had no comment.