The company agreed to warn California customers that its fried or baked potatoes contain acrylamide, a chemical known to cause cancer.
Acrylamide, a byproduct created by the reaction of chemicals in food and high heat, is found in French fries and potato chips at high levels. For example, a serving of fries or potato chips has about 82 times more acrylamide than is allowed in drinking water under U.S. EPA standards.
Proposition 65, the initiative demanding the exposure warnings, was approved by 63 percent of California voters.
In settling a lawsuit with California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., the KFC Corp. iagreed to supply consumers with acrylamide warnings to comport with Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.
The company, without admitting wrongdoing, also agreed to pay $208,000 in civil penalties and $133,000 to fund Proposition 65 enforcement actions.
A hearing before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Wendell Mortimer Jr. is scheduled May 29, when the California Department of Justice and the KFC Corp. will request the court's approval.
The settlement was the first as part of an ongoing Proposition 65 enforcement action against major food and beverage producers including Frito-Lay Inc., Pepsico Inc., H.J. Heinz Co., Kettle Foods Inc., Procter & Gamble Distributing Co., Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Co., Wendy's International Inc., McDonald's Corp., and Burger King Corp.