updated 5/7/2007 7:41:16 PM ET 2007-05-07T23:41:16

Starbucks Corp. announced Monday that it will cut artificial trans fats out of food and drinks in its stores in the continental United States, Alaska and Canada by the end of the year.

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The coffee retailer isn’t about to quit selling its whipped cream-topped Frappuccino shakes or rich baked sweets, but said it will only use ingredients with naturally occurring fats, like butter, whole milk, eggs and whipped cream.

“No longer using artificial trans fats in products sold in our stores allows us to take out ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils that have no health benefit, while retaining high quality and great tasting natural ingredients,” Denny Marie Post, senior vice president of Starbucks’ global food and beverage unit, said in a statement.

Listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, trans fats are thought to boost “bad” cholesterol and decrease “good” cholesterol. They have attracted attention from health regulators, most notably in New York City, where they have been banned in restaurants and eateries.

Starbucks joins a growing list of American companies shedding trans fats from their menus. Yum Brands Inc.’s chains KFC and Taco Bell recently switched to a trans-fat free oil. Wendy’s International Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Burger King Holdings Inc. also are phasing out trans fats.

Starbucks started ridding its U.S. and Canadian stores of trans fats in January. Company spokesman Brandon Borrman said trans fats will eventually be eliminated from its Hawaii stores, but that it will not likely happen by the end of the year because jurisdiction for the state is being shifted from Starbuck’s international division to its domestic unit.

Starbucks also said Monday that it is working to rid trans fats from stores in markets outside North America, but Borrman said no timeline has been set.

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