– FDA declares trans fats no longer safe to eat; partially-hydrogenated oils to be banned from nearly all foods (Natural News, Nov 10, 2013):
The FDA is on a roll. Barely two week after announcing new quality control standards for pet food manufacturers, the agency has declared that trans fats are no longer safe to consume. A ban of the toxic substance is in the works, and the FDA will spearhead the eventual removal of this disease-promoting ingredient from the food supply.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not ‘generally recognized as safe’ for use in food,” the FDA has now announced. “If the FDA finalizes its preliminary determination, PHOs would be considered ‘food additives’ and could not be used in food unless authorized by regulation.”
I can hardly believe my own ears when I hear myself saying the FDA has now done two incredibly positive things back-to-back. But as a long-time critic of the FDA, I’ve also earned the right to applaud them when they do something right, and removing trans fats from the food supply is hugely important to public health.
Partially-hydrogenated oils have been killing Americans for decades
Trans fats (found in partially-hydrogenated oils) cause heart disease, diabetes and many other chronic degenerative conditions. They exist only for the convenience of junk food manufacturers who want a shelf-stable fat that won’t liquefy and leak out of their junk processed foods. Trans fats — which are usually made from genetically modified soybean oil — are the perfect junk food ingredient because they taste fatty yet they are shelf-stable and resist rancidity. Some people refer to them as “plasticized” fats.
Nearly all so-called “vegetable shortening” products are almost entirely made from partially-hydrogenated oils (and are therefore loaded with trans fats).
For decades, the junk food industry has poisoned its own customers with trans fats, sodium nitrite, MSG, aspartame, toxic heavy metals, toxic preservative chemicals, artificial food colors and much more. Eventually, all these poisons need to come out of the food supply, and the FDA has surprisingly taken a huge, positive step in that direction by removing trans fats from the GRAS list.
The food companies will despise this decision, by the way, making it one of the very few decisions the FDA makes that is not in the interests of big business.
Banning toxic food ingredients is a proper role of government
In the debate about the proper role of government, this kind of food safety decision by the FDA demonstrates the appropriate, limited role of centralized authority. My philosophy has always been that government needs to stop regulating individuals (stop telling me what insurance to buy!) and start regulating global corporations (stop dumping mercury into the river!).
Even among those of us who believe in small, decentralized government, when it comes to food safety and environmental safety, there is a legitimate role for a central authority to force corporations to stop poisoning the people and the planet. Without that authority, food companies never would have even agreed to list ingredients on food labels! And they would still be using every deadly chemical, coloring agent and preservative that has already been banned by the FDA. So in these limited situations, government authority really can help protect the public, if applied responsibly and in the public interest.
But the FDA, of course, often goes too far with its censorship of truthful health claims for dietary supplements. The damage FDA does to public health from those actions may even be greater than the help FDA provides to the public by banning toxic ingredients. If we really hope to experience a leap forward in public health, we must end the FDA-enforced censorship of truthful health claims for foods, superfoods, herbs and dietary supplements. If a health benefit for a vitamin is true, why can’t a vitamin company simply tell the truth?
The FDA’s current position, as a matter of fact, is that there is no such thing as any vitamin, mineral, herb or natural substance that has any ability whatsoever to prevent, cure or treat any disease or health condition. That’s not merely absurd; it’s hopelessly outdated. Everybody knows that vitamin C cures scurvy, or that vitamin D prevents and cures rickets. There are thousands of natural foods and substances with genuine curative properties, yet the FDA recognizes none of them.
So while on one hand the FDA is making this decision to ban trans fats from the food supply — a GOOD thing! — the agency is simultaneously enforcing a “thought monopoly” on the entire nation by silencing dietary supplement companies from stating scientifically-validated truths about beneficial nutrients and supplements.
If only we could get the FDA to act in the interests of the public all the time, eh?
Read more from the FDA: