Barack Obama has banned trans fat. Where did he get the authority to do that?
I don’t like trans fat. I think it is unhealthy and should be avoided. I am glad that companies have been abandoning it and soon will stop using it.
But I’m not deluded enough to think that the Food and Drug Administration is my friend. And I don’t think having a dictator of food safety for over three hundred million people is a path to safety.
Yet that is what our media takes for granted. The Politico headline is typical: “It’s official: Obama axes trans fat.” The words sound as if the Constitution gives the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces the authority to monitor all eating within the territory of the United States.
But I have to give credit to Politico. They make it clear to anyone with a brain which lobby is getting paid off for their support.
The Obama administration is making good on its pledge to all but ban trans fat nationwide.
The FDA issued a final decision Tuesday that gives the food industry three years to phase out partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, which are still used in a wide variety of products from microwave popcorn to cake frosting.
The government’s goal is to prevent cardiovascular disease and advocates are cheering the move as a historic win for public health. But class-action attorneys are eager to use the ruling — before it takes effect— to file lawsuits against deep-pocketed food companies that have continued to use trans fat, even as the rest of the industry has masterfully reduced its use of trans fat by some 85 percent.
Food industry lawyers are poring over the document to see if FDA said anything that could help shield them from litigation.
“The class action lawyers have got their forks and knives out,” said Stefanie Fogel, partner and co-chair of the food and beverage practice at DLA Piper. Fogel wants to read the entire FDA ruling before weighing in on what exactly it means for the industry, but in general, she said, the agency is making it much easier for plaintiffs to claim that a food product is adulterated for containing trans fat.
People have known that trans fats were unhealthy and dangerous for years. Before that, however, they were considered superior and safer. According to Wikipedia,
As early as 1956 there were suggestions in the scientific literature that trans fats could be a cause of the large increase in coronary artery disease but after three decades the concerns were still largely unaddressed. In fact, by the 1980s, fats of animal origin had become one of the greatest concerns of dieticians. Activists, such as Phil Sokolof, who took out full page ads in major newspapers, attacked the use of beef tallow in McDonald’s french fries and urged fast-food companies to switch to vegetable oils. The result was an almost overnight switch by most fast-food outlets to switch to trans fats.
Studies in the early 1990s, however, brought renewed scrutiny and confirmation of the negative health impact of trans fats. In 1994, it was estimated that trans fats caused 20,000 deaths annually in the US from heart disease.
And yet the FDA continued to claim that the “scientific consensus” said that trans fats were safe. Politico reports:
FDA’s decision rescinds the “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS status for partially hydrogenated oils. The status does not require FDA’s approval but is supposed to be grounded in scientific consensus. The oils have been considered generally recognized as safe since the late 50s when they started to come into vogue as an alternative to saturated fats.
The FDA, in November 2013, dropped something of a regulatory bomb on trans fat by issuing a tentative decision that partially hydrogenated oils are not GRAS — a move that blindsided many in the industry. FDA’s final ruling gives the food industry until June 2018 to stop using partially hydrogenated oils and shift to only very limited uses that are proven to be safe.
So why blindside the industry except to feed trial lawyers, a major Democrat Party supporter? I know there are many reasons to accuse the FDA of covering for corporations, but they were always doing so at the expense of other corporations. People who manufactured trans fats profited while other companies were pressured into using them, just like McDonald’s was. Then, the FDA provided cover for this deadly product, until it decided to give a three-year gift to trial lawyers.
If the FDA was not out there luring people into believing they didn’t need to be aware of their food because they were under the protection of the omnicompetent government, for all we know many would be alive today who are now dead.