The Food and Drug Administration has just announced a landmark decision that will effect the health of every American (or at least, every American that eats terrible food). They’ve decided to ban trans fats once and all, and every food company in America that uses this substance will have three years to phase it out of their products. On June 16th, the FDA released their statement on the matter, the beginning of which reads:
Based on the available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) has made a final determination that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids (IP-TFA) are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in human food. This action responds, in part, to citizen petitions we received, and we base our determination on available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat.
Part of me is hesitant to praise this decision. After all, don’t we have the to right to choose what we eat, even if it’s terrible for our health? On the other hand, it’s nice to have mainstream science recognize something that health conscious people have long since taken for granted.
Not too long ago, most people believed that saturated fats were bad for you, and trans fats, like the kind often found in margarine, were supposedly better for you. In fact, the FDA probably didn’t even need to ban the stuff. Public outcry had caused roughly 85% of trans fats to be removed from the food supply by major food companies. In this case, the FDA is merely catching up to what the public has known for a long time: Trans fats are practically poison.
Still, better late than never I suppose. Between you and me, I suspect the only reason they’re banning trans fats now, is because it’s no longer profitable for their friends in the food industry. They let the major food companies put this crap in our food for decades, and they milked it as long as they could. Now that the public largely squirms at the sight of trans fat laden products, they can ban it and still claim to be on the right side of history.
Which makes you wonder doesn’t it? The battle between trans fats and saturated fats was fought between mainstream science and the health community for many years, and they’re just now admitting to the public that this substance is not only bad for you, but it is so awful that it’s not even fit for human consumption.
But that battle is far from the only one. There are debates being waged right now on vaccines, herbal medicine, supplements, colloidal silver, among many others. At best, the FDA and the scientific community looks down at these alternative treatments, and lumps them all under the label of “pseudoscience.” But with this recent decision, you have to wonder if the treatments and eating habits that the FDA currently scoffs at, may have more merit than they’re letting on.