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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
'Burger bill' passed by US House
People who get fat cannot blame food sellers, says the House
The US House of Representatives has passed a bill aimed at making it harder for people to sue the food industry for causing obesity.

Lawmakers voted 306-120 in favour of the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act - or the "cheeseburger bill", as it has been nicknamed.

The bill, which has still to go before the Senate, follows a series of legal actions against fast-food companies.

A spokesman for the firms welcomed the move to outlaw such cases.

Scott Vinson of the National Council of Chain Restaurants praised the House for "denouncing frivolous obesity lawsuits brought by plaintiffs seeking to blame restaurants for making them overweight".

The council represents brands including McDonald's, Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut.


The Republican chairman of the House judiciary committee, James Sensenbrenner, said fast-food retailers were not to blame for Americans' over-indulgence.

"It is not the place of the law to protect them from their own excess," he said, adding that anyone suffering from obesity should go to a doctor, not a lawyer.

The bill's opponents included California Democrat Bob Filner, who said the fast-food industry marketed fatty food to children and should take responsibility.

Other critics said the bill was unnecessary, since such cases were generally thrown out by the courts.

The legislation will not ban cases involving negligence, such as those stemming from tainted food.

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