FDA Finally Bans Trans Fats

What Does This Mean for the Fast-Food Industry?


FDA bans trans fats


The FDA is finally taking steps to phase out trans fats which might put the fast-food industry on its head.

The ban on Trans fats has been imposed by cities such as New York with little support, but now, it will be imposed nationwide. Fast-food eateries such as McDonald’s have moved forward in their efforts in removing the substance from their menu items which has had quite a positive impact on the brand.

Long John Silver’s is one of many fast-food restaurants that depend on trans fats. Like most fast-food eateries, Long John Silver’s is not known for their nutritional meals, but rather for their crispy battered goods that need to stay preserved under heat lamps or holding trays. The trans fats substance is the main ingredient that helps fast-food chains and franchises hold more without having to throw away.

The response from fast-food chains has been alarming as some have taken steps to choose a healthier substitute for the trans fats substance. In 2006 Arby’s made the decision to remove trans fats from their fries and reduce it other items of their menu. With the current trans fats ban, Arby’s will need to reevaluate their whole menu. KFC is also in the same boat and, though they have eliminated the trans fats substance on most of their menu items, their signature buttery biscuits still contain the trans fats substance.

Fast-food chains that should be applauded for removing trans fats from their menu completely have had mixed reviews by their followers. Comments that signature items do not taste the same are part of the problem in the changes towards healthier alternatives. Some fast-food eateries would rather continue the same menu, trans fats and all, and not lose patrons. How many times have you heard someone say McDonald’s fries are not the same after they changed?

Wendy’s, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Chick-fil-A have made the zero-trans-fats change after grueling testing of their menu items.

Burger King finally made some zero-trans-fats changes in states banning the substance which involved the FDA; however,  it was only after a lawsuit filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest(CSPI) that pushed the franchise into making a complete removal of the trans fats substance from Burger King’s menu items.

CSPI made it known that Burger King had alarming levels of trans fats in most of their menu items – five times over as is safe for a person to consume. A regular size order of a meal had dangerous levels of the trans fats substance – just imagine a super-size order.

The ban on trans fats will have a significant impact on fast-food eateries as most have not conformed completely. The smaller local chains will most likely feel the impact first as changing to an alternative may be the end of a neighborhood favorite. As the FDA finally confirms the ban on trans fats, the best advice to all fast-food eateries is to embrace what is good for the public.


By Dianna Coudriet

Annals of Internal Medicine

Center for Science in the Public Interest

New England Journal of Medicine

Washington Post


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