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California Court to Grill McDonald’s about Carcinogen in Chicken

restaurants will go to trial for serving grilled chicken containing a cancer-causing compoundPCRM’s California lawsuit against McDonald’s and five other restaurant chains is moving forward. The restaurants will go to trial for serving grilled chicken containing a cancer-causing compound.

PCRM’s lawsuit was filed under California’s Proposition 65, which states that consumers must be warned about products that contain known carcinogens. If PCRM prevails, fast-food chains will be compelled to post warnings in their California restaurants alerting customers to the presence of PhIP in grilled chicken. The defendants managed to have the case dismissed on grounds that state laws on consumer safety did not apply to them in this case. But a higher court ruled for PCRM, reversing the decision, and in October, the California Supreme Court rejected the fast-food chains’ petition for review. That decision means the case will proceed to trial.

In independent laboratory tests commissioned by PCRM, 100 grilled chicken items from McDonald’s, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, and TGI Friday’s were all found to contain PhIP, one of a group of carcinogens called heterocyclic amines.

Burger King has already settled and posted warnings in its California restaurants. PCRM filed a separate lawsuit against KFC, which also sells grilled chicken that has tested positive for PhIP. 

Learn more about the dangers of PhIP at

You Can Help PCRM’s Legal Team

Have you or anyone you know purchased a kids meal or another meal containing bacon, sausage, ham, deli meats, or hot dogs at Denny’s, IHOP, Friendly’s, Chili’s, Cracker Barrel, Subway, Nathan’s, Cheesecake Factory, Dairy Queen, Chuck E. Cheese’s, or Quiznos, in Connecticut or California?

PCRM plans to file lawsuits in Connecticut and California to protect children and adults when restaurants fail to warn customers about the risk of cancer from eating processed meats. If successful, the suit will require restaurants to post warnings about risks. If you or someone you know is interested in being a plaintiff in such a lawsuit, please contact PCRM at or 202-527-7370.


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