By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 16, 2003 07:42 AM

Oreo fans need not fear traveling to California — yet.

San Francisco attorney Stephen Joseph — who wanted to outlaw the perennially popular cookies in California amid claims that they contained dangerous, and unlabeled, trans fats — is dropping his lawsuit against the cookie’s parent company.

The Associated Press reports that Joseph is withdrawing his lawsuit against Kraft Foods, the corporate giant that manufactures the chocolate cookies with the white middles. Joseph is now saying that he only wanted to get the word out about the dangers.

Kraft spokesman Michael Mudd, meanwhile, says the American legal system is not the place to set nutritional policy. He also stated that Kraft Foods continues to research ways to get trans fat out of Oreos while preserving the classic flavor.

Some legal experts compared Joseph’s suit to those against tobacco companies and McDonald’s, which make products not known for their healthful qualities. In the case of McDonald’s, the lawsuits against the burger chain have to do with the high level of fat in its food.

“Trans fat is not the same thing at all. Very few people know about it,” said Joseph, explaining that his lawsuit focuses on the fact that trans fats are hidden dangers being marketed to children.

Last summer, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine said that trans fat should not be consumed at all, AP reports. It is directly associated with heart disease and with LDL cholesterol — the ‘bad’ kind that accumulates in arteries.

But the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revealed that partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which contain trans fats, are present in about 40 percent of the food on grocery store shelves, the worst culprits being cookies, crackers and microwave popcorn.

Carrot sticks, anyone?