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After eight years of study, McDonald's has decided to...

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- After eight years of study, McDonald's has decided to cook its french fries in vegetable oil, ditching the beef tallow currently being used.

The change means 45 percent less saturated fat per serving, said Ed Rensi, president of McDonald's U.S.A., in a statement.

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'This means that a small order of McDonald's world-famous french fries is now lower in saturated fat than a glass of 2 percent lowfat milk,' he said.

The phase-in of vegetable oil, part of an ongoing movement to healthier food at the fast-food giant, will be completed by the end of the year, Rensi said.

Phil Sokolof, head of Omaha-based National Heart Savers Association, said he was 'elated' with the decision.

'I couldn't be any happier. The American public has demanded these changes, and the fast-food companies have responded,' Sokolof said.

Sokolof, who in the past has taken full-page ads in some newspapers criticizing McDonald's fat content, said he planned $175,000 in new ads for Wednesday but canceled them after the announcement.

McDonald's arch rival in the fast food business, Burger King, announced last week that henceforth its french fries would be cooked in vegetable oil. Miami-based Burger King said the switch should be completed nationwide by Oct 1.

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