The federal government is regulating the American meal, again.

This time, the target is trans-fat!

The Obama administration is ordering food companies to phase out the artery-clogging trans fats that can lead to heart disease, the country’s leading cause of death.

The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it would require food makers to stop using trans fats — found in processed foods like pie crusts, frostings and microwave popcorn — over the next three years.

It turns out California has banned trans fats since 2008, when our “conservative” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill outlawing them. When I was at the local doughnut shop yesterday, with my husband (who requested the fat-laden extravaganza for his Father’s Day Breakfast), I asked the proprietor about living with the trans fat ban.

She explained that while she readily complied with the rules, at added expense passed onto the customer, some other shops continued using the banned ingredients. She noted that several were closed temporarily, until legal items arrived. These facilities were then regularly reinspected for compliance.

Imagine this on a large scale. It is anticipated that the conversion will cost food manufacturers billions .

The FDA estimates the cost of the transition to food manufacturers will be $12 billion to $14 billion. They will have to pay to research and test new ingredients plus reprint labels and repackage products, which could cost up to $200,000 per product, estimates Roger Clemens, a pharmacology professor at University of Southern California.

“It’s not a cheap endeavor,” he says. “The flaky texture of a croissant, of a pie crust are really expectations. (It) takes a lot of food science to understand the chemistry of those interactions so you can duplicate it without compromising the product.”

The billions will be passed down to consumers. I suspect that given the reliance on processed foods in urban communities, Obama’s most ardent supporters will be hardest hit.

Recall that the fact trans-fat was originally promoted as the healthy alternative to animal lard in cooking and baking; and I would be remiss if I didn’t note that the nation’s top nutrition advisory panel decided to drop its four decades-long warning about the dangers of eating eggs and other cholesterol-laden food. So, besides the cost increases, expect some more of those pesky unintended consequences related to implementation of this new policy.

Reason contributor David Harsanyi deduces the most likely reason this ban is now in place, while other substances known to cause obesity and other health problems (high-fructose corn syrup and alcohol) continue to flow:

After years of pressure from trial attorneys and junk-science public interest groups, the Obama administration has followed through with its pledge to ban what is—in the amounts most Americans ingest—a benign ingredient. But even if it’s not, we have labels for a reason. It’s unlikely the ban will do anything but create precedents that allow further intrusions into how and what we eat. Which is precisely the point.

I also suspect a combination of lobbying and donations from health food activists pushing their agenda and products as well.

In terms of real health effects, we can estimate the likely success of the new plan by looking at California. Our ban began effectively in 2009.

Since then, the obesity rate has risen faster than dough!

In 2001, no California county had an adult obesity rate that exceeded the Healthy People 2020 goal of 30.5%. However, by 2012, 21 of California’s 58 counties had adult obesity rates of 30.5% or more.

Once again, the administration acts to solve a problem that didn’t exist while ignoring one serious crisis after another. On Jan. 20, 2017, I plan to celebrate with doughnuts and champagne.


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