FDA Takes Over to Unclog America

  FDA steps in as trans fat clogs America

The FDA is taking over to unclog America’s arteries one ban at a time. The FDA announced Thursday that they would make efforts to essentially eliminate trans fat from America’s diet. The substance used by food makers for a variety of reasons is said to be responsible for a host of diseases, including clogged arteries, according to the FDA.

Over the past decade the trend in health food and locally produced organic products has been on the upswing, meaning more and more Americans are becoming informed of the dangers of eating high fat preservative packed foods. The FDA has responded to the increasing demand and growing obesity problem in America by moving towards eliminating the ingredient altogether.

In 2006 the FDA required nurtion labels to include measurements of trans fat in any given product, and while there has been a decline in the amount of trans fat consumed since, the amount of trans fat ingested by the average American in the form of butters, frozen pizza and desserts, still exceeds the limit for a healthy diet says the FDA.

Trans fat acts as a preservative, keeping products fresh and adding a more appealing texture to the meal. They are also responsible for peanut butters cohesiveness (which allows for the deliciously appealing spreadability on your bread), and for the flakes on your biscuit and croissants.

The FDA claims reducing trans fat could prevent up to “20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a year.” Such a prevention rate could save taxpayers millions of dollars in hospital bills, as well as the livelihoods of thousands of Americans.

According to the FDA an 80% decline in the amount of trans fat ingested is due to a concerted effort by health groups and the FDA to unclog America’s arteries and inform the public on the dangers of these fatty substances. Still, the battle against obesity and heart disease rages on, with the FDA’s latest push to ban the substance altogether.

Local initiatives to ban the substance have been behind the national ban, including New York City’s ban in 2007. California in 2008 became the first state to ban restaurants from cooking with trans fat.

While some might say this will put an unnecessary burden on food companies, others say that the move will help keep customers informed and healthy, something that will only help the company’s profits in the long run.

“We look forward to working with the FDA to better understand their concerns and how our industry can better serve consumers,” said Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, a trade group associated with Mondelez International, the company that produces snacks ranging from Wheat Thins. to Oreo cookies. to Nilla Wafers.

McDonald’s, the poster boy for America’s obesity problem, has made great strides over the past decade to reduce unhealthy menu items, using cooking oil that contains 0 grams of trans fat. Despite the move towards healthier products, McDonald’s is still home to some of the worst foods for high levels of trans fat, most notably the double quarter pounder with cheese.

The move by the FDA to unclog America is said to be important if Americans want to maintain a longer and more fruitful life. While obesity may have increased over the past few decades, the amount of information on these weight causing products has been made more available, providing consumers with the knowledge they need to choose healthier meals. The FDA says that the push to ban trans fat will only compound those efforts made by Americans who are looking to lead a more healthy lifestyle.

by John Amaruso

Chicago Tribune