Prepared Foods January 31, 2005 enewsletter

A federal appeals court gave two hefty teens the OK to jump-start their stalled suit against the fast food giant for allegedly making them fat and sickly.

Jazlyn Bradley, 19, of Brooklyn, has 270 pounds on his 5-foot-6 frame and Ashley Pelman, 14, of the Bronx, stands 4-foot-10 and weighs 140.

The teenagers claim they ate at McDonald's three to five times a week for years.

Besides obesity, they allege the McDonald's menu caused them to develop diabetes, coronary disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and other maladies.

The decision vacated a September 2003 lower court ruling that tossed out their beef on grounds their lawyer failed to show McDonald's used deceptive ads to trick consumers into eating unhealthy food.

It was the second time the suit had been tossed out.

However, the appeals panel found that attorney Samuel Hirsch's contention that McDonald's violated the New York Consumer Protection Act was worthy of "inspection" by the court.

The suit alleges McDonald's failed -- as it had agreed -- to provide customers with free, written, easily understood nutritional information about its fast food.

In addition, the chain was charged with failing to "adequately disclose that its use of certain additives and the manner of its food processing rendered certain of its foods substantially less healthy than represented."

In a statement, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said "common sense tells you this particular case makes no sense." The statement continued, "Today's ruling, which is strictly procedural, simply delays the inevitable conclusion that this case is without merit."

The teens said in their suit that they would have stopped or at least cut back on their visits to the golden arches if they had the information on what they were eating.