A US judge has reportedly approved the US$8.5m educational campaign launched by McDonald's to settle lawsuits that claimed the fastfood company failed to reduce its use of trans fats.

The case stems from an announcement in September 2002 in which McDonald's said it would reduce trans fats in its cooking oils within five months. However, in February 2003 the company announced the switch had been delayed. Consumer group BanTransFats.com sued McDonald's in 2003, claiming that the company failed to adequately inform consumers about the delay.

Earlier this year, McDonald's agreed to pay $7m to the American Heart Association for education about trans fats in foods and $1.5m to publicise that it had not achieved its 2002 undertaking to switch to healthier cooking oil, reported the Associated Press.

Superior Court Judge John Sutro approved the settlement this week and said that the company will also pay around $2m in legal fees and costs, AP said.