Trans fats are some of the worst fats you could eat. They’re been held responsible by health officials for everything from obesity, to high cholesterol, to heart disease.
A recent study even showed that they damage the brain, as subjects who ate high amounts of trans fats suffered from memory problems. And that’s not all. The richer their daily diets were in trans fats, the worse they performed during the word recall test that they took.
But they’re also some of the best fats in a perverse way. Food manufacturers use them as often as they do because they improve the shelf-life of produces greatly and add texture to icing. On top of that, they also improve taste. Everything from buttery cupcake creams to spicy burger sauces all have trans fats to thank for part of their flavor.
However, the danger they pose to a person’s health can not be denied, whish is what determined the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) earlier this week to give a statement announcing that they will be banning them in the United States three (3) years from now, in 2018.
Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s acting commissioner, gave a statement informing that “The FDA’s action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans. This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year”.
Bakers and food companies across the country have taken to giving statements of their own, sharing how much the ban will affect their businesses and products, many of which are award winning goodies.
The Food and Drug Administration has received complaints from many institutions in the processed food industry, such as the National Frozen Pizza Institute, the Popcorn Institute, and even the International Chewing Gum Association. But the ones that stood out the most were the small business owners.
Kenneth Jarosch, owner of The Jarosch Bakery, a family business started by his grandfather and father way back in 1959, said that the ban will absolutely cost him some money. But what he’s really worried about is that the ban will affect the taste and texture of his products. It is those very elements that differentiate his products from generic Walmart or Costco baked goods.
Some of the industry giants like General Mills and ConAgra Foods have unsuccessfully tried to persuade the Food and Drug Administration to impose really low caps on PHOs, the main source for trans fats, rather than banning them completely.
General Mills said there are many considerable technical challenges that make it difficult for the company to find a suitable replacement for PHOs in certain products. For some there may not even be a suitable replacement, and this would affect the quality of their pastries, cakes and icings.
However, General Mills has also informed that public that they’ve already removed trans fats from a lot of their products, and are currently struggling to remove them from the remaining ones as well.
ConAgra Foods pointed out that PHOs have been safely and commonly used it food for more than 50 years. But the company also takes great pride in providing “high-quality, wholesome foods”, and so they will respect the FDA`s ban.
Some bakers and food companies are still hopping that certain exceptions will be allowed. Cupcake sprinkles in particular has a couple of advocates.
But as Kenneth Jarosch noted a much better alternative would have been to simply post a warning telling customers that a certain product could be hazardous to their health, and allowing them to choose if they want to buy it or not. He reminds everyone that this is the case of cigarette packs.
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