The FDA’s Trans Fats Ban: Public Good vs. Easy Formulations vs. Making Profits

The FDA has given us three years to come up with something other than Trans Fats in food, having taken the GRAS label (‘generally recognized as safe’) from it. This has been a long time coming as partially hydrogenated oils, which make up a significant amount of Trans Fats in foods, has been shown to majorly contribute to the nation’s poor heart health.

Right now, labels can be misleading. Foods can be labeled as zero Trans if they do not exceed a certain amount per serving. This is from the FDA’s press release:

Currently, foods are allowed to be labeled as having “0” grams trans fat if they contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, including PHOs, the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods.

It is confusing as ‘0’ should mean actually ‘zero’.

But it will be difficult to simply remove Trans Fats entirely at first since many emulsifiers in use today are derived from partially hydrogenated oils (which contains Trans Fats). Also, reformulations by food manufacturers and commercial bakers will take time and money. The object is to create a product that has the same shelf life and flavor as the current product with the Trans Fats, which is not always easy since there are no clear substitutions at times.

I just posted on the pastry blog how this will affect bakers and food manufacturers, and how a Rabbi puts to rest any notions of placing profits over public health. Link is below.

FDA’s New Trans Fat Ban, the Revocation of GRAS Status, and How It All Affects Bakers – Sometimes Morally.

Now This is Scary: Superbug Resistant to Last-Resort Antibiotics Makes Way to Food Chain

The zombie apocalypse doesn’t need to happen to end civilization. A few of these superbugs swimming around in everyday food would though.

Via Morguefile.

Via Morguefile.

If you’ve read this article: Antibiotic resistance will mean the end of just about everything as we know it (Salon.com) based on the author’s read of this literally terrifying article, Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future, then this news will set you back on your heels – Carbapenem-resistant bacteria has been found in Canadian squid that was imported from South Korea.

How does this little bit of food industry news become really scary? From Maryn McKenna, “Very Serious Superbugs in Imported Seafood,” Wired.com:

…the concern is that the DNA conferring this resistance passes from this bacterium into the vast colony of diverse bacteria that live in your gut for your entire life, becoming incorporated into your gut flora and posing a risk of drug-resistant illness at some future point when the balance of your immune system slips.

That this was found on seafood—a type of food that we tend to undercook and sometimes eat raw—just increases the risk of transmission. And that’s not even to mention the possibility that bacteria containing the gene spread to other seafood or other foods in that store, or in the kitchens of anyone unlucky enough to bring them home.

Now that’s just plain frightening.