Thursday, January 18, 2007

Trans Fat- What's Going To Happen To Choice?

Just an FYI in case you're not keeping up with what is going on in the food choice world. The below article was published in the L.A. Times last week (1/11/07). Basically what it boils down to is that some cities like New York have banned trans fats in restaurant food(as a side line- some cities like Chicago have banned foie gras- duck/goose abuse?). Banning of trans fats is targeted at saving us from heart disease, minimizing financial burdens on health care systems and protecting our children from these diseases.

Yes we know trans fats aren't good for us and so are a lot of other things like excessive alcohol, high saturated fat diets, excessive sugar, cigarrette smoking, junk food and the list goes on. But what is important is that you have a choice. As long as you know it is present (labeling is a must) you can make your own decision on whether to ingest. You can only hurt yourself physically (and a few loved ones as a consequence). Banning trans fats means no choice. Some would argue that many in the U.S. can not make the "right" choice and so they need beauracrats to do it for them. I believe trans fats are bad, should not be eaten, are hazardous to your health and I make a choice to limit how much I ingest. I do not believe it is a matter of law. As noted in the article- what will be banned next- butter? cream? cheese? or even bacon?

I don't ordinarily get on a soap box and voice my opinions but this prompted me. I'm willing to bet you are all aware of the hazards of trans fats in our diet, but do you think there should be laws against their use in our food supply or should you have a choice based on informed decision making?

L.A. County to study trans fat ban
Feasibility of keeping the ingredient out of restaurant foods will be reviewed with industry and health groups.
From the Associated Press
January 11, 2007

The government war on trans fat, started when New York City banned it from restaurant food, has reached Los Angeles.

County supervisors have voted to study the feasibility of banning artificial trans fats from restaurants, and the City Council in December had asked for a similar report on at least restricting it.

"I'm very concerned about the whole trans fat issue," Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke said after Tuesday's vote for the study. "Every time I buy something, I look to see if it has trans fat."

Public health officials will be asked to review the issue with the restaurant industry and community health organizations, and to study whether the county can regulate trans fats at restaurants countywide or just in unincorporated areas.

Jot Condie, president of the 22,000-member California Restaurant Assn., said he's open to suggestions but believes banning something widely used in homes "has more cons than pros."

"What's next? Butter, cheese or anything that has saturated fat, which accounts for 15% of the average American diet, and also is not healthy, but that also needs to be taken in moderation?" Condie asked.

Since last January, the Food and Drug Administration has required that trans fat content be listed on all packaged foods. Trans fats, listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, are believed to be harmful because they wreak havoc with cholesterol levels.

Last year, the New York City Board of Health voted to ban trans fats in restaurants and to require food labels on menus at all chain restaurants that already provide calorie information.


The Survival Gourmet said...

I think that is pretty stupid. Trans fat has been in the media long enough that people should know that it's bad and shouldn't eat it. Banning it or making it illegal won't solve anything. If it did, we wouldn't have any drug addicts.

Anonymous said...

I just wish they would teach starting with the early grades schools better nutrition in school and not just a semester.

Anonymous said...

I think Supv. Burke's comment says it all. Read before you buy. Before you know it we are going to be trafficing in illegal cheese.

sher said...

I think this is an area that shouldn't be regulated. If adults want to eat trans fat, that's their choice.

Sylvie said...

From all your comments,it seems simple, let individuals make their own choice of what they want to eat not law makers. Education of our children is the key.

toshio in bora bora said...

its ones god given right to eat and be happy.they should not ban it they choice should be made up by the person eating the trans fat food.the choice should be ours not the goverment

The TriniGourmet said...

i support the ban, just as i support bans on asbestos, lead and certain pesticides :) trans fats are a modern chemically created aberration... they are avoidable and are more deadly than just a notation on a nutritional sidebar would indicate. when Denmark banned them on a national level the US fast food chains adjusted to suit. But maybe i'm just a foreigner, I don't understand the logic of the objections.

Sylvie said...

Another L.A. Times article today, 1/24/07 by Tony Barboza. L.A. City council to review information submitted by Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of L.A. County public health agency. Expect more on this in the coming weeks.

TG- agreed that transfats are not good for you. My concern is that there are many other unhealthy things out there that pose a greater health risk to the user and those around him, i.e. cigarettes, alcohol during pregnancy. Individuals are the right to make a choice with these with warnings. Post warnings on transfats, not bans.

elmin said...

Best wishes you all, from Istanbul :)

foodlove D&C said...

Its not such a bad thing to ban trans fats. Thinking cheese and butter are next is mildly paranoid. The ban is on restaurants.. if you really want them --then put em in your own recipes. Choice is important-true. But the higher good and the moral dilemma out ranks the mute point of choice. We live in a nation of people with severe food issues, have a little heart and nutrition awareness. A little help could go long way. Bottomline --wholesome ingredients, unaltered, direct from the earth. xooxoxD&C

Anonymous said...

With fascination I read the articles and comments. I agree with all the comments until I got to foodlove. What a naive idiot. Restaurants today, grocery stores tomorrow what other choices do we lose. I think it is up to the manufactuers to just stop making transfat products. The problem is it should not be regulated at the city or county level.

Nick said...

I get a little perturbed when people think education (anonymous post 1/19)is THE answer to changing hearts or lifestyle behaviors patterns that are not in alignment with the practices at home - or for that matter society. This goes for sex ed, environmental ed, life style choices, etc.
The purpose of schools is not to indoctrinate children with every new whim or belief. We present accurate information, assist them in thinking through the info, and help kids make good decisions.

I am an educator in elementary and we do teach healthy nutrition along with reading, writing, math, physical education, art, music, social studies, science, social skills, foreign languages, multi-culturalism, other health issues. Full agenda! We struggle to get parents/families to review student's work and practice reading. I suppose an instrutional strategy I could implement is to SHAME kids and their parents for buying Skippy peanut butter or the like?

The issue is not trans-fats and health ... the issue is liberty!