November 8, 2013
The Trans Fat Ban as Science-Policy Lag

Yesterday the FDA announced plans to take trans fats off its list of GRAS, or generally recognized as safe, foods. To some, like the New York Post with its “FAT-WAH” cover headline, this is a vicious new outcropping of nanny state-ism and an intrusive, sudden national ban that will sweep dozens of treasured foods off supermarket shelves. To the people who have been following this for the years it’s been in the making, like Marion Nestle, it’s closing an important loophole: that manufacturers could put “zero trans fat” on the label of a food that contained less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving. Taking trans fats off the GRAS list won’t remove them from the food supply. Manufacturers can still petition the FDA for exceptions. But it goes a long way toward getting them out.
It’s an occasion for high-fiving, and there’s plenty of that. “The FDA is back,” Nestle told the Times reporter—and the agency has indeed been AWOL when it comes to matters it should be regulating faster and more forcefully, some of them, like food safety inspections, excusable because of constantly shrinking budgets, and others, like the national menu calorie labeling that should have been in force a year ago, are explicable only by political caution that with time looks like cowardice. Center for Science in the Public Interest, which first petitioned the FDA to require putting trans fats on food labels in 1994, has been getting and deserves a good deal of credit for its persistent campaign.
But what the announcement really shows is how public health works: slowly, based on mounting scientific evidence, against constant and mounting headwinds of public ridicule and, much more important, industry lobbying and advertising.
Read more. [Image: Richard Drew/AP]

The Trans Fat Ban as Science-Policy Lag

Yesterday the FDA announced plans to take trans fats off its list of GRAS, or generally recognized as safe, foods. To some, like the New York Post with its “FAT-WAH” cover headline, this is a vicious new outcropping of nanny state-ism and an intrusive, sudden national ban that will sweep dozens of treasured foods off supermarket shelves. To the people who have been following this for the years it’s been in the making, like Marion Nestle, it’s closing an important loophole: that manufacturers could put “zero trans fat” on the label of a food that contained less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving. Taking trans fats off the GRAS list won’t remove them from the food supply. Manufacturers can still petition the FDA for exceptions. But it goes a long way toward getting them out.

It’s an occasion for high-fiving, and there’s plenty of that. “The FDA is back,” Nestle told the Times reporter—and the agency has indeed been AWOL when it comes to matters it should be regulating faster and more forcefully, some of them, like food safety inspections, excusable because of constantly shrinking budgets, and others, like the national menu calorie labeling that should have been in force a year ago, are explicable only by political caution that with time looks like cowardice. Center for Science in the Public Interest, which first petitioned the FDA to require putting trans fats on food labels in 1994, has been getting and deserves a good deal of credit for its persistent campaign.

But what the announcement really shows is how public health works: slowly, based on mounting scientific evidence, against constant and mounting headwinds of public ridicule and, much more important, industry lobbying and advertising.

Read more. [Image: Richard Drew/AP]

  1. daddysshmuck143 reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Just leave shit alone if someone wants to eat unhealthy it should be their choice!!
  2. sans-nuage reblogged this from theatlantic
  3. stace-cadet-things reblogged this from pubhealth
  4. allgoodcolors reblogged this from theatlantic
  5. onwardtoahealthytomorrow reblogged this from pubhealth
  6. blossoming-path reblogged this from nursingisinmyblood
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  12. nursingisinmyblood reblogged this from pubhealth
  13. pubhealth reblogged this from theatlantic
  14. meadowslark reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    I’m trying to remember when I first came across the issue of trans fats. ‘85? 86? Definitely before my son was born...
  15. smokymemoriess reblogged this from theatlantic
  16. ljporzel reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    FDA at work…
  17. foodsafetymatters reblogged this from godawful-lawlessness
  18. godawful-lawlessness reblogged this from fatchickinla
  19. ragallen reblogged this from theatlantic
  20. amccrerey reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Three cheers for public health in action!!
  21. ilovejeopardy reblogged this from literallyanythingelse
  22. literallyanythingelse reblogged this from theatlantic