The PJ Tatler

Get Ready for the Trans Fat Ban

The nanny state’s death star agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is getting ready to ban trans fats.

If you enjoy donuts, movie popcorn, pie crust or french fries (to name a few) you’d better movie quickly before the jack boot of government food regulation sucks as much joy as possible from the American food palette.

Writes Politico, “The Obama administration is expected to all but ban trans fat in a final ruling that could drop as soon as next week, killing most uses of an ingredient that has been put in everything from frozen pizza to Reese’s Pieces but since deemed harmful to human health.”

Trans fats gained popularity in the 1980s and 90s when the government required food with saturated fats be labeled as such. But now, saturated fat is back in favor and trans fats are out.

Peter Suderman at Reason sums it up nicely.

The FDA and its supporters argue that trans fat restrictions are necessary as a health measure following a 2013 proposal that trans fats not be “generally recognized as safe.” This is more than a little bit ironic given that for decades, trans fats were pushed by the public health community as a healthier alternative to saturated fats. Indeed, the food industry shifted to trans fats through the 1980s and 1990s in part because of a requirement that food products with saturated fat be labeled—a requirement which, of course, was put in place by the FDA.

At least indirectly, then, FDA food regulations helped make the use of trans fats more common—yet now the agency is trying to ban the same fats its earlier work likely have encouraged. Meanwhile, it increasingly seems clear that the old public health wisdom about the evils of saturated fats was off-base, and that the once-evil saturated fats aren’t nearly as bad as previously thought.

It’s hard to to take the government food regulations seriously when they are constantly changing.

“This is a massive win for public health,” said Sam Kass, the former senior adviser for nutrition at the White House and executive director of Let’s Move!, noting that FDA has estimated removing trans fat could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and some 7,000 deaths.

“There are few targeted actions you can take in this space that have that kind of direct impact,” said Kass.

Interestingly, the consumption of trans fats is down sans government intervention. Suderman points out, “Between 2006 and 2013, following both an FDA labeling requirement and a steady increase in warnings from food researchers that trans fats might not be all that healthy, average daily consumption dropped from 4.6 grams to 1 gram, according to The New York Times. The FDA is declaring total war on an enemy that has largely been defeated.”

So what’s the point of the ban if consumption is down? Good question.