Why Do “Farmers” Want to Keep Trans-Fats in Our Foods?

soybeans and oil

The FDA is close to deciding that partially hydrogenated fats should be removed from the American food supply. This is a good thing. Partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) contain trans-fats, which are the worst type of fat for your cardiovascular health.

In 2006, food manufacturers were required to begin labeling trans-fats on product nutrition facts panels. As a result, the use of partially hydrogenated oils was dramatically reduced, to the benefit of public health. Yet 8 years later, PHOs are still present in many foods, from cereal to cookies to prepared meals.

In November, the FDA had this to say:

Based on new scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, or trans fat, are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food based on current scientific evidence establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat, and therefore that PHOs are food additives…If finalized, this would mean that food manufacturers would no longer be permitted to sell PHOs, either directly or as ingredients in another food product, without prior FDA approval for use as a food additive.

Before finalizing its decision, the FDA asks for feedback from the public and other stakeholders.

The food industry always sends its feedback. The American Soybean Association (ASA) is very unhappy with the pending restrictions. In a letter to the FDA,  ASA’s president warns of significant costs to 22,500 soybean farmers in 31 states. The FDA’s decision would reduce soybean farmers’ income by $1.6 Billion per year. It would also result in a growing reliance on imported palm oil and canola oil.

These 2 themes – loss of income/jobs and having to import goods instead of relying on “Made in the USA” – are great scare tactics employed by lobbies to protect a small group at the expense of the public. This obviously makes no sense. If soybeans are used in a harmful manner, maybe American farmers should not be growing so many soybeans?

Kale anyone?

(H/T to FoodNavigator)

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  • Aria Gonzalez

    I quite agree. Canola isn’t perfect, but is it that impossible to grow rapeseed in the States? I doubt it…

  • JKern

    Hemi, is imported canola cheaper than US? That argument from the Soybean Assn makes little sense (maybe why you’re writing the post!)

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      No clue. That’s not the issue of course.

    • Aria Gonzalez

      Imported canola would probably come from Canada, so I doubt it.

  • CJ

    The soybean industry will be just fine with UN-hydrogenated soybean oil….oh no, what about the hydrogen industry!?!?

  • H2O

    If we shouldn’t be eating it then why grow it ???

  • Aplus

    I will say it is good to keep bad things out of our food. However, I feel bad that many will lose money.

  • Michelle s

    Take it out!