I Can't Believe It's Not Legal

Those darned sneaky trans fats, they get into everything. Even good wholesome natural food like butter and cream:

In a twist of science, the law and what some call trans-fat hysteria, [baker Matthew] Reich and other wholesale bakers are being forced to substitute processed fats like palm oil and margarine for good old-fashioned butter because of the small amounts of natural trans fat butter contains.

While the New York trans fat ban only discriminates against artificial trans fat, many companies see trouble for all kinds of trans fats on the horizon, and hope to save themselves trouble by forcing their suppliers to go completely trans fat free right off the bat:

“Things like a New York ban on trans fats create hysteria, and when you create hysteria people overreact, and when people overreact they start taking whole food groups out of their diet because there might be a little trans in it,” [said Greg Miller, a spokesman for the National Dairy Council].

The major casualty, croissants:

“We’ve gone back and replaced all of the nice, good butter with supposedly trans fat-free margarine,” said Rick Doyle, the Schwartz [bakery] regional manager. “The hardest one for us was the croissant. We replaced butter with palm oil. From my perspective it’s not a croissant any more. It’s lost all its lamination and flavor.”

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  • ||

    I wondered how long it would take for people to freak out about dairy...again.

  • Grotius||

    The major casualty, croissants:

    From my cold dead hands!

    Look damnit, how the hell can you have breakfast with OJ, coffee (real coffee!) and buttery croissants?

  • Grotius||

    ...without...

  • ||

    Grotius,

    Are you ever really bad like me and butter your croissants? It's sinfully delicious.

  • ||

    What kind of monster would even want a non-butter croissant? Buttery goodness is the essence of a croissant.

  • Goober peas||

    It's sinfully delicious.

    But I thought you didn't believe in sin de stijl ;-)

    What kind of monster would even want a non-butter croissant? Buttery goodness is the essence of a croissant.



    At last, something atheists and christians can agree on...
  • Grotius||

    de stijl,

    Yes I do butter my croissants.

  • ||

    Do the dogs at yankee stadium have trans fats?
    Or the nachos?
    Do we have to give up the plump she-male hookers?

    God forbid!

  • Timothy||

    Croissant + marmalade = CRAZY DELICIOUS

  • ||

    At last, something atheists and christians can agree on...

    When did I get drafted as a Christian?

  • ||

    First they came for your drugs, then the cigarettes, then the transfat.
    Now they are coming for the milk, butter and meat.
    And this is all meant to save humanity not destroy it?

  • ||

    I'll cop to being an atheist, but I also feel slightly "sinful" when I butter my croissants. It's like dipping your bacon in bacon au jus before eating it.

    If buttering your croissants is wrong, I don't want to be right.

  • ||

    Margarine is an abomination against God.

  • Xmas||

    Fresh scones and clotted cream, crazy good.

    (Sorry, had to jump in with the pastry love.)

  • ||

    A perfect example of media hysteria.

    NYC bans artifical trans-fats. Media reports "Oh My God Oh My God Trans Fats Are Illegal! We're All Gonna Die!"

    Food companies start removing butter from their recipes.

  • JimmyDaGeek||

    More appropriate title: "mooove over butter!"...

    You're slacking, Katherine...

  • VM||

    "joe | March 7, 2007, 5:12pm | #
    A perfect example of media hysteria.

    NYC bans artifical trans-fats. Media reports "Oh My God Oh My God Trans Fats Are Illegal! We're All Gonna Die!""

    you forgot: "women and minorities hardest hit"

  • jimmydageek||

  • Penry||

    Much as I would like to blame the government for all of this, it was idiot consumers who called for their fries to be cooked in processed vegetable "fat" in the 80's, and it looks like it's idiot consumers who are now demanding that butter be banished from their croissants.

    Please, someone tell me it's really the FDA's fault.

  • JimmyDaGeek||

    Penry,

    I am not so sure that it's the consumers' fault, but I could be wrong. This just seems like another attempt by the government (whether it's local or national) to "protect" us from ourselves. Since we're too dumb to do it on our own.

  • ||

    VM wins the thread.

  • Penry||

    Jimmy,

    Nope, according to the article none of this is mandated by government.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    A perfect example of media hysteria.

    There would be no story if NYC hadn't nanny'd transfats into illegality, yet, somehow that escapes our attention. It's the hysterical messenger that takes the flak for bringing the message.

  • ||

    It isnt that we are too dumb to protect ourselves. We are too lazy. Look around you at all those willing to give up rights so as to not take personal responsibility.

  • Bazil||

    In butter I trust...

    Let there be pleasure... for that is life, not living a mere existence paranoid with concerns of immortality...

    I'm making butter sauce and bbq shrimp tonight.

    Cheers,

  • ||

    Margarine is an abomination against God

    Grew up in Wisconsin, did we?

  • ||

    I'm just glad that when the dust settles I'll still be able to die of good old saturated fats.

    Or will I?

  • ||

    the issue is that companies are being hysterical, not the govt. or the media. The ban is on artificial trans fats. butter is still ok, nobody has a law to ban butter.

    i know, i know, i should stop with pesky things like facts and just have fun griping about the dam gummint.

    sorry to spoil anyones fun

  • ||

    the issue is that companies are being hysterical

    Companies are rationally responding to perceived risk of not reacting in anticipation of the hysterical public's next step.

  • Grotius||

    This is a pretty good example of the unintended consequences of government regulation.

  • ||

    Even if its only artificial trans fats that are banned, I can see businesses not using natural ones for several reasons:

    (a) Someone down the production line might not understand this and won't buy them.
    (b) Since trans fats are now lethal per se, a company might be liable for selling butter to a ham child who dies a buttery death. At least if you can convince a jury.
    (c) Can you tell the difference in all products without expensive testing?
    (d) Following on that, who has to prove that the trans fats in question are natural?

    New government regulations that are confusing tend to cause a chilling effect because taking a step back from the line is seen as safer than trying toe it and finding out that you stepped over it. Laws have to be damn confusing to for that to be a reason not held liable in a court of law, and nobody will want to be the first to be held liable for an honest mistake.

  • ||

    Oops, forgot to add:

    This is what happened with Sarbanes-Oxley.

  • ||

    Z,
    While the ban was on "artificial" trans-fats, I'll ask you to quote the paragraph(s) in the USA Today, the New York Times or this news bit from the BBC that clarify that this ban only applies to "artificial" trans-fats and that trans-fats are found "naturally" in items like dairy. Even if the media had reported it correctly, what business of the government's is it to determine what I consume and "protect" me from myself?

  • ||

    "At least if you can convince a jury."

    should be

    "At least if the other side can convince a jury."

  • ||

    The way to argue against this is to look at the carbon imprint of producing palm oil vs. that of butter (environmental degredation, cows continue producing, etc., etc., and so forth) and figure out the carbon dioxide required to produce the same taste.

    (And no way do I believe that palm oil gives the same flavor as butter. Yum.)

  • ||

    You know, I think that a lawsuit is in order. Not to restrict the banning of trans-fats as the courts have seen that the cities have a right to protect their citizens' health. No, instead, I'd like to see a coalition of health minded individuals sue the city to outlaw other health threatening foodstuffs like those that cause Hyponatremia, Hypernatremia and Ketoacidosis. Only when the government protects me from myself can I truly be free.

  • ||

    I suppose I gotta quit smokin tobacco through the bong filled with clarified butter now...

  • ||

    brotherben also wins the thread. VM and brotherben advance to the HRCS.

  • ||

    The trans-fats found naturally are not as unhealthy as the artificial trans-fats.

  • ||

    The trans-fats found naturally are not as unhealthy as the artificial trans-fats.


    Links? Other than amount, how is a natural trans-fatty acid different than on produced during the hydrogenation process?

  • ||

    The way to argue against this is to look at the carbon imprint of producing palm oil vs. that of butter (environmental degredation, cows continue producing, etc., etc., and so forth)...

    I'm not sure exactly what you're getting at here.

    But I read an article a little while back discussing the fact that huge swathes of the Indonesian rain forest are being slashed and burned to create new acreage to grow the trees to feed the expanding international demand for Palm Oil.

    I might be mistaken but it seems to me that destroying rain forests is not a good way to set a favorable "carbon footprint". Even if you are planting an agricultural crop.

  • ||

    Isaac--exactly! You point out that use of palm oil is in fact much nastier to the environment than using butter from contented cows frolicking on traditional farmland.

    Plus you can argue that you're helping support biodiesel as well because of the increased market for soybean meal.

    See? We end up with yummy-tasting croissants and can feel virtuous as well.

  • Lazarus Long||

    When a place gets crowded enough that you can't bake a croissant with real butter, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.

  • ||

    This is an example of the nasty feedback loop that occcurs when you get the press, activist groups, food manufactures, and under educated consumers "working" together.

    Government and food activist say trans fats are bad. Under educated food consumer hears "transfats are bad" and uses that to evaluate food purchases and excludes all other factors.

    Food manufactures try to increase consumer acceptance of product by splashing "0 trans fats" on food lables. Other food manufactures realize under informed consumers won't buy anything with a trace of trans fats so they eliminate anything from their products that might even add a trace of trans fats to their product.

    Meanwhile under informed consumers would stampede into the supermarkets to buy product labeled "New improved all natural cyanide crackers, 0 grams trans fats and guaranteed to not cause weight gain"

    Wait five years and find that substitutes that replaced trans fats are more harmful then the trans fats they replaced. Lather, rinse and repeat.

  • ||

    Z,

    Here is a post from another blog on dietary issues. Atkins Tops Diet Study

    Quote from the article

    The study's results cast further doubt on the benefits of low-fat, high-carb diets, which have been touted for decades as the model of healthy eating. This study confirms the importance of reducing carbohydrates," said Dr. Frank Hu, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health

    It is looking more and more likely that the low fat high carb diet that the government has been pushing since the 1977 hearings on the senate select commitee on nutrition is not the best diet.

    Instead of saying the obvious thing, human nutrition is complicated try and eat a wide variety of foods in moderation they came up with a specific set of guidelines without the research to back it up.

    The government and activist groups have made a hash of consumers eating habits and essentially confused the daylights out of everybody.

    You may be correct on the specific point of your comment but the government created the environment leads to this kind of food lunacy.

  • trans-phat||

    how is a natural trans-fatty acid different than on produced during the hydrogenation process?

    From the new Haggadah, is that?

  • ||

    Maybe the EU will pass a measure banning imports of anything labelled a "croissant" unless it's made with butter. That's actually a law I'd agree with.

    Oh, and the solution to the health problems associated with trans-fats is to drink more red wine.

  • ||

    Oh, and the solution to the health problems associated with trans-fats is to drink more red wine.

    Not really. Turns out that the French have never actually kept any kind of records on causes of death. Seems like they've been having way more heart attacks than anyone realized and that the whole benefits of Red Wine deally is overblown.

    Won't keep me from enjoying a nice glass (or two) of Shiraz though. :)

  • VikingMoose||

    No Way!

    Laz! Is that really you! From the epic battles with Lefty from Minnesota? Welcome back, guy! fantastic!

  • Thrall||

    I'm a gun-holding-meat-eating-butter-lover and im ready to strike! Must have butter!

    You would think this country was run by politically correct liberals who eat vegetables all day long. I'm not saying republicans are any better. In my biased opinion, libertarianism is the way to go.

  • ||

    Support Biodiesel: Eat Meat!

    (Actually true: what's going to be the main economic disincentive to plant more soybeans for biodiesel is needing a market for the non-soybean-oil part, i.e., the protein-containing mash.)

  • Guy Montag||

    Does this mean that the vacationers at Club G'tmo will start losing weight now?

  • ||

    I thought that because of the French/war thing we no longer called them "croissants" but instead Freedom sants, which I understand was later dropped because of confusion with our coalition of the willing partners, the "freedom ants"

  • ||

    They'll take the croissants from my greasy, buttery, crumb-littered hands...

  • ||

    This is inhuman. Guns or butter. At least give me one of the two!

  • ||

    Let's just slap a skull and crossbones on every food item with a warning "Excessive consumption of this food item, and any other food item, may be dangerous to your health."
    There, you've been warned. Scared shitless?
    Then kill yourself now.

  • ||

    I couldn't help but remember that line Natalie Portman says in "V for Vendetta" when she says she hasn't tasted real butter since her childhood.

    Disturbing similarity, says I.

  • ||

    Thank god I moved to Switzerland. It is totally acceptable here to wrap a Cervelat (Kind of sausage) with bacon before throwing it on the grill.

    "Bacon up that sausage, boy!"

  • Bob||

    "Wait five years and find that substitutes that replaced trans fats are more harmful then the trans fats they replaced. Lather,"

    Yeah, that's it...make soap out of it.

  • Guy Montag||

    I couldn't help but remember that line Natalie Portman says in "V for Vendetta" when she says she hasn't tasted real butter since her childhood.

    That made me think of butter on hot grits.

  • ||

    Grotius | March 7, 2007, 4:37pm | #

    Look damnit, how the hell can you have breakfast with OJ ...


    I'm not saying I had breakfast with Grotius -- but if I did, this is how I would've done it ...

  • ||

    Regarding the Atkins diet study mentioned above - it definitely deserves attention from the liberty-minded. Even if you have reservations about the long-term health effects of that or any other diet. The continuing stream of research indicating that state-encouraged low-fat diets may be deleterious to public health could be one of the most crystal-clear demonstrations yet that nanny-statism literally destroys human lives.

  • Mises Freak||

    This whole problem can be traced back to government passing yet another regulation and the population only too willing to be lorded over. If Thomas Jefferson were alive today he would be appauled. "You mean that the Government has the power to ban specific foods?! Surely you gest!"

    This nation needs to get back to our Libertarian foundation. If you want Socialism, move to Europe. (Gee...it worked so well for Hitler and Mussolini and Mao and Pol Pot and Stalin and....)

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