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FDA moves to ban trans fats

From NY Times story: "The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed measures that would all but eliminate artificial trans fats, the artery clogging substance that is a major contributor to heart disease in the United States, from the food supply." http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/hea...
http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/Consu...

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  1. Looks to me someone is trying to justify a reason for their existence!

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/923306

    On a serious note, I couldn't agree with this more. (ban on trans fats, not Becker-head)

    2 Replies
    1. re: jrvedivici

      P.S. That other thread's title is off base. USDA regulates the National Organic Program, not FDA.
      http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/u...

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Just another thing Beck had wrong, then.

      1. Artificial trans fats have been banned in California for food prepared in restaurants for more than three years now. The rationale was that without the benefit of labeling, consumers were not aware of the amount of harmful trans fats in their food. Restaurants had a phase in period to reformulate in order to comply and it went quite smoothly. It was a trend anyway in this part of the country, and the regulation just made it happen faster and established standards. A side benefit is that the publicity around it educated consumers so that they made more healthful choices in their grocery purchases for home prepared meals.

        Where I've noticed the difference from a taste and texture perspective is in fried foods. French fries, donuts, etc. are not as crisp for the most part in non-trans fat frying oil. Bring back lard, I say!

        http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/...
        http://www.acgov.org/aceh/documents/T...

        3 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          New York City has a similar ban on artificial trans fats in restaurants.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            <<<<<Where I've noticed the difference from a taste and texture perspective is in fried foods. French fries, donuts, etc. are not as crisp for the most part in non-trans fat frying oil. Bring back lard, I say!>>>>>

            I agree with the lard! But I really HATE the mouthfeel of foods made with partially hydrogenated fats - it creates a coating in my mouth that is persistent and unpleasant.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I agree. I'd rather severely limit my saturated fats and have the ones I do use be the real thing, aka lard and butter.

            2. The FDA released this proposal on 8-inch floppy disks. For a copy, send them a Telegram through Western Union and it will be promptly shipped to you via the Railway Express Agency (REA).

              2 Replies
              1. re: Antilope

                thanks for the LOL, antilope!
                don't forget the alternative -- pony express!

                  1. re: treb

                    And should be---the filling is basically Crisco and sugar.

                    1. re: mwhitmore

                      Yum. BTW - Crisco has no trans fats.

                      1. re: treb

                        For label purposes, Crisco has no transfats. A "serving" of Crisco is 12 g. (one tbsp) and there are less than 1/2 g. of trans-fats per serving, so the label may show zero.

                          1. re: GH1618

                            This has been the danger of tans fats. People are so easily fooled into believing their food has no trans fats when it's not always the case. It adds up. I was upset when Girl Scout cookies prominently stated "No Trans Fats" on their labels when they did, just not enough to have to show it (per their definition of a serving). Companies are making smaller serving sizes to get under that 1/2 gram amount.

                            That said, I don't agree w/ banning it. I think it should be prominently labeled on the package in big letters so it can't be missed if there is any partially hydrogenated oils. People continue to smoke, that is far worst and that's their choice Maybe we could tax trans fats like we do cigarettes; a tans fats tax (maybe I just want to hear those debate it have to say that repeatedly).

                            1. re: chowser

                              "Tax trans fats" - The problem with sin taxes is that the money goes to just about everything but the ills the sinful product causes.

                              1. re: chowser

                                Smoking isn't a fair analogy, I think. The cigaret makers don't put the carcinogens into the tobacco, it occurs naturally. The food makers create artificial trans fats and put them into our food, often without telling us (as you say), though it's known to be a health hazard. Even the wary buyer may end up eating trans fats against her will. This needs to stop, and the only way it's going to stop is by government intervention.

                                1. re: John Francis

                                  That's why I said I think it needs to be prominently labeled. That way, people can make an informed decision.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    The FDA and Dept. of Agriculture are in the business of protecting us from unhealthy or deadly stuff in the food supply, such as tainted meat and salmonella-carrying poultry and produce - it's not enough just to put a sticker on the package saying, "Caution: this product may contain salmonella which can kill you." Why should we not also be protected from the needless introduction of artificially produced harmful and potentially deadly ingredients into the food we eat? Why should artificial trans fats be allowed at all? I don't get it.

                                    1. re: John Francis

                                      Cigarettes are far more dangerous and they're legal. The government should give us the knowledge to make our own informed decision. Some people are willing to take the risk of eating beet tartare or sushi Should the government ban those? I'm anti-trans fats and don't eat them myself. However, it's a personal choice.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        You're anti-trans fats, which are inherently dangerous to our health, there's nothing good to be said for them, yet you would permit food companies to continue making them and adding them to our food? Why should it be a personal choice? I still don't get it.

                                        As for cigarettes, that's a quite different issue, but since you mention it, there actually is a partial ban on them, at least where I live. They can't be sold to people under the age of 21, and smoking is illegal in restaurants and virtually all indoors and public spaces. Exercise your personal choice and light up in my town and you're likely to get into trouble.

                                        1. re: John Francis

                                          I avoid soda, artificial sweeteners, work out religiously, eat plenty of vegetables, often organic depending on what they are, limit saturated fats, don't eat fast food. Do I want the government to enforce that by law? No, other adults can decide for themselves. If, given my lifestyle, I decide I want to eat an oreo once in a while, it should be my choice. Unlike smoking, second hand fumes won't harm the person next to me and THAT is the reason for the smoking ban.

                                2. re: chowser

                                  It doesn't help much at restaurants, which is where the big problem is, IMO.

                                  I don't know where I stand on the ban. I guess I wish we were all smart enough to stop creating a market for it by not eating or buying things that contain trans fats.

                                  The government shuts itself down (except for the congressional gym, which was absolutely necessary) to cause the affordable care act to go down in flames, but they're micromanaging to the point of banning a certain type of fat? Is that their way of showing us they care?

                                  Off my soapbox and fading back into the crowd now.

                        1. I wish more people could see where this is going.

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: Uncle Bob

                            Wait till we get taxed for eating.

                            1. re: treb

                              Wait until they ban alcohol. Think about all of the alcoholism...all the accidents/deaths/broken homes/etc that are contributed to alcohol. I mean the Gubment has to look for out for those too stupid to have any personal responsibility when it comes to consuming adult beverages.

                              1. re: Uncle Bob

                                <Wait until they ban alcohol. >

                                You do know that we tried that once already, right?

                                  1. re: Uncle Bob

                                    Well, take heart. If history repeats itself, you might only be deprived of those delicious artificial trans fats for a scant thirteen years, after which the ban will be lifted. Sometimes slippery slopes develop a little traction.

                                  2. re: small h

                                    And a significant consideration that went into repealing prohibition was lost tax revenue.

                                    1. re: Tom34

                                      You don't say. And here I thought it was all about taking pity on us poor lushes.

                                      1. re: small h

                                        Call me suspicious but I always get an uneasy feeling when someone I don't know claims to care more about my well being than I do. When its a politician I always feel the need for lube is just around the corner.

                                      2. re: Tom34

                                        I think you've got that the wrong way around. According to Daniel Okrent in his history of Prohibition, "Last Call," a significant consideration that went into imposing the income tax was to replace lost revenue from the excise tax on liquor, that was going to be lost due to Prohibition.

                                        1. re: John Francis

                                          I am not an expert on Prohibition so I will take your word for it but the fact that organized crime was making a fortune off illegal large volume liquor sales and the Gov wasn't getting a dime in tax was certainly a factor on the table when the decision was made to repeal.

                                          1. re: Tom34

                                            If you're interested, I suggest you read Okrent's book. Prohibition was repealed because a large majority of the people wanted to have a beer or martini without having to break the law and risk imprisonment, in Michigan possibly for life. The political pressure came from the grass roots abetted by the press, not the Treasury Department. To the contrary, the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment favored repeal of both Prohibition and the income tax which had been passed to enable it, which they saw as a zero sum.

                                            The Republicans were dry and Democrats were wet, and when the Republicans were swept out by the election of 1932, the way was cleared for the passage of repeal. This happened very soon after the new Congress had been sworn in, and the amendment was ratified by the required 36 state legislatures before the year was out.

                                            The income tax, however, is still with us...

                                    2. re: Uncle Bob

                                      And then pages like this raise people's blood pressure. Maybe the government should regulate this also. No one should say anything to raise other peoples blood pressure.....;-)

                                      1. re: Antilope

                                        Isn't the term for that "Politically Correct". :-)

                                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                                        It's going to be a country without transfats. No need to assume that they'll be taking your food-eating rights away.

                                        1. re: Uncle Bob

                                          I wish it was going in the direction of banning politicians.

                                        2. There's been a lot of discussion about this in the online baking/pastry communities because, as you know, shortening is the bedrock of products such as icing and pastry dough. When no-trans fat products were first introduced, there was an outcry among cake decorators because there's a distinct difference in both working with no-trans fat as well as mouthfeel and taste. With everything going no-trans fat, all manufacturers are now going to have to come up with a formula that works or else cake (or pastry), as we all know it, won't be the same.

                                          (I realize I'm overgeneralizing here, but I hope you get the drift. I don't want to go into details because it is a rather heated topic).

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                            So what did bakers use before they invented artificial trans fats?

                                              1. re: EricMM

                                                Trans fats weren't exactly "invented." They are a byproduct of hydrogenation, which produces both cis and trans fats.

                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                  Sounds like an invention to me. Just sayin'.

                                              2. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                                The mouthfeel and taste (or lack of) of shortening is infinitely inferior to butter and lard.

                                                I worked in the hospitality industry in the seventies, and the best pastry chefs would NEVER have DREAMED of using shortening in ANY of their products. It was not even considered for use.

                                                Anyone who puts shortening in their frosting or "pastry dough" is an idiot.

                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                  It depends. Yes, one does use butter in dough, but there are two schools of thought to the icing: Purists use only butter. However, it gives the icing an off-white color and doesn't keep well. That's where the shortening comes in. Butter-only icing can also be finicky when it comes to decorating, much more so than shortening-based icing.

                                                  Processed dough -- the kind you find in the refrigerator case or in factory-made product -- contains shortening. Some vendors have already reformulated their recipes, and there is a difference.

                                                  1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                                    People use shortening when they don't have the skill to use butter and don't care about taste.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      And you are obviously not a cake decorator.

                                                      1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                                        And you'd be wrong. Have taken multitude of classes including ones at L'Academie de Cuisine. I know the ease of shortening. I teach little ones to decorate w/ it. I also know the nastiness of the taste and would never eat it. It's used when appearance is more important than taste.

                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                        Definitely not going to be icing a summer wedding cake in butter-buttercream. Unless you're going for Salvadore Dali style.

                                                        1. re: youareabunny

                                                          Definitely. I'd never use an American buttercream for the heat of summer. Thankfully there are many other choices than American buttercream. I will sometimes make decorations w/ shortening cream but those generally don't get eaten.

                                                2. Trans fats are present in the fats of ruminants, including butter. The amount is less than one-half gram per serving, so is listed as zero on the package, similar to Crisco. The presence of trans fats does not seem to be a reason to choose between Crisco and butter. I would use whichever worked best in the particular case.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                    I have read that there is a health difference between artificial and naturally occurring trans fats.

                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                      You may have read it, but I don't believe it. Do you have a reference? The reason the FDA is considering only artificially produced trans fats is because these are the biggest part of the problem and they can be more easily regulated. It is not practical to ban naturally occuring trans fats, which are found in beef and in butter.

                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                        From Wikipedia:

                                                        Natural and man-made trans fats are chemically different, but there is no scientific consensus about differences in their health effects. Two Canadian studies have shown that the natural trans fat vaccenic acid, found in beef and dairy products, could actually be beneficial compared to hydrogenated vegetable shortening, or a mixture of pork lard and soy fat, by lowering total and LDL and triglyceride levels. In contrast, a study by the US Department of Agriculture showed that vaccenic acid has the same detrimental effects on LDL and HDL as industrial trans fats. In lack of recognized evidence and scientific agreement, nutritional authorities consider all trans fats as equally harmful for health and recommend that consumption of trans fats be reduced to trace amounts.

                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_fat

                                                  2. They can have my cold dead Crisco when they pry it from my hands. ;-)

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                      Don't you mean they can have your Crisco when they pry it out of your cold, dead hands?

                                                    2. Genetic engineering to the rescue!

                                                      "The developers, Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer, have manipulated the genes of the soybean to radically alter the composition of its oil to make it longer-lasting, potentially healthier and free of trans fats."

                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/bus...

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: drongo

                                                        Oh Jeebus- now I'm seeing the big picture.