Start Hoarding Donuts: The FDA Is Banning Trans Fats

Previous city and state meddling goes national


Not again!
"King of the Hill"

We probably should have seen it coming. After places like New York and California instituted trans fat bans, it was only a matter of time until it went national. The Food and Drug Administration is going to force food manufacturers to dump artificial trans fats. Via the Associated Press:

The FDA planned to announce Thursday it will require the food industry to gradually phase out all trans fats, saying they are a threat to people's health. Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the move could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.

Hamburg said that while the amount of trans fats in the country's diet has declined dramatically in the last decade, they "remain an area of significant public health concern." The trans fats have long been criticized by nutritionists, and New York and other local governments have banned them.

The agency isn't yet setting a timeline for the phase-out, but it will collect comments for two months before officials determine how long it will take. Different foods may have different timelines, depending how easy it is to find a substitute.

"We want to do it in a way that doesn't unduly disrupt markets," says Michael Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods. Still, he says, the food "industry has demonstrated that it is by and large feasible to do."

If they don't want to unduly disrupt markets they could always just opt not to. As is typical of this sort of behavior, it's going to have a bigger impact on your neighborhood family-run bakery than it will on big chains like Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' popped to mind because they're just now breaking into the California market, and the local media is all over it right now. Dunkin' Donuts started voluntarily dumping trans fats in 2007, which required them to reformulate more than 50 menu items. A big chain like them can manage the transition just fine. But back when California instituted a ban, some smaller bakeries reported they'd have to raise prices as the ban both increased production costs and also reduced shelf life of their goods. Back around that same time a piece in The Atlantic explored the challenges of replacing trans fats and noted the challenges for certain types of baked goods.

Dunkin' Donuts replaced their trans fats with saturated fats (read their nutritional guide here), which is another fat with a bad reputation. But in October, a British medical journal argued that the war on saturated fat was misguided, and it was being blamed for heart problems that were likely being caused by carbs and sugar.

The FDA acknowledges that trans fat consumption has already dropped significantly in the past decade so mandating it is necessary why exactly? The Associated Press notes:

Though they have been removed from many items, the fats are still found in processed foods, including in some microwave popcorns and frozen pizzas, refrigerated doughs, cookies and ready-to-use frostings. They are also sometimes used by restaurants that use the fats for frying. Many larger chains have phased them out, but smaller restaurants may still get food containing trans fats from suppliers.

It may end up being yet another barrier to entry for smaller restaurants and producers to compete against established chains.

More Reason on trans fat bans and other food police behavior here.

If that's not enough, Hank Hill can explain it all for you.

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  1. FYTW!

  2. Isn’t transfat just another name for Crysco? I have a newsflash for these assholes, shortening and fat is essential in baking.

    These people are horrible. They took away our light bulbs, now they are taking away our baked goods.

    1. I don’t want the government involved, but so-called “vegetable” oils (seed oils, often refined with hexane) are terrible for people. Animal fats are much better. There’s an amazing amount of research showing it, but it has been largely ignored because of the cholesterol scare.

      1. Should we chip in and buy John some coconut oil?

        1. Can’t deep fry in coconut oil. But popcorn cooked in it is wonderful!

          And hell yeah, I’ll send him the $6 for a 2-pound jar of LouAna!

      2. Interesting. Where’s a good resource on this?

        1. that’s a big thing in the paleo world. if you start poking around there, lots on good vs. bad oils.

        2. Good Calories, Bad Calories is a pretty good place to start.

          The diet-heart hypothesis posits that dietary SFAs lead directly to ‘clogged arteries’. The dietary cholesterol myth, never really even a hypothesis, posits that dietary cholesterol (such as eggs) is translated directly into high blood lipids. Then there is the hypothesis that high amounts of blood lipids (cholesterol) lead directly to heart disease instead of being a possible marker for ill health. Like fireman being the cause of fires rather than an indication that a house is burning down.

          1. Taubes doesn’t touch the issue of trans fats and vegetable fats, though. Unless I’m forgetting about it – does he?

            1. Taubes doesn’t touch the issue of trans fats and vegetable fats, though. Unless I’m forgetting about it – does he?

              No, I just found one mention of trans fats:

              Thus, the current conception of a healthy diet is one that minimizes salt content and maximizes fiber; has plenty of good fats (monounsaturated and omega-three polyunsaturated fats) and minimal bad fats (saturated fats and trans fats); has plenty of olive oil and fish, and little red meat, butter, lard, and dairy products.

              I think noticing the importance of the n-6/n-3 ratio was always more of a paleo thing starting with Cordain, and really taking off with people like Kurt Harris and Robb Wolf. Taubes wasn’t really a paleo guy even if he did do an amazing job of demolishing the diet-heart hypothesis.

              1. Taubes still isn’t really a paleo guy. He’s still a traditional “reducing diet” guy. Meat, eggs, cheese, and leafy greens aplenty, few carbs and no white carbs.

                A lot of the paleo people are… wrong. It doesn’t matter how you take 50/50 glucose-fructose (honey, agave syrup, HFCS, sugar), just how much.

                1. I just keep away from all sugar as much as I can.
                  Except Tollhouse cookies! I mostly only get those at Christmas, though.

                2. I’m not exactly Paleo either, though I like the general idea.

                  And yes, sugar that’s not bound in fiber is as bad in one form as another.

          2. The last leading to to the idea that forcing cholesterol lower in the body using statins is a good thing.

            Whereas the evidence seems to show that is simply like forcing a city to have less firefighters in order to reduce the number of fires.


            1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24142756

              Get thee behind me Atorvastatin!” screams the horny old atheist.

              1. Must be why I’m seeing all those commercials for “low T”… treating the side effect of one drug with another.

        3. Interesting. Where’s a good resource on this?

          I spend a lot of time on Google Scholar. Personally, I start most people on all this through Fathead’s website and let them figure it out from there.
          Gnolls.org is another good place to start.
          I don’t agree completely with either, but the signal to noise ratios tend to be pretty good.

    2. The artificial trans fats are cheap alternatives to the real things that should be used for baking. Butter or lard are always superior options to margarine or crisco.

      Of course, that doesn’t justify a ban or regulation.

    3. They took away our light bulbs, now they are taking away our baked goods.

      What are our toilets, chopped liver?

      1. Anymore, yes!

        I have a lovely, full-sized-tank version Kohler Cimarron I smuggled down from Canada before they came out with the low-flow version. It has a fully-glazed internal trap with a larger diameter, which makes it much less likely to clog.

        And, unlike the thing my brother-in-law has, It doesn’t sound like an SR-72 flying over.

    4. Shortening is only necessary if you don’t use animal fat. And only Nazis don’t use animal fat. Are you a Nazi, John?

  3. “The market was starting to remove trams fats on its own, but if we let that happen, people might realize how useless we are. So instead we’ve banned it to make sure everyone knows how edgy and relevant the FDA is…”

    /FDA Press release

    1. Bingo!

    2. http://tinyurl.com/k56l8mz

      Don’t worry, FDA. The FCC is also trying desperately to remind people why they are relevant.

      1. When the FDA is in the news, the story is generally of the form “tragedy occurred because the FDA didn’t have enough time/inspectors/power”. The fact that “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA” and “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease” are ubiquitous apparently indicates the FDA does little of value.

  4. After Chicago banned trans fats the fries at my favorite lunch spot were horrible. The restaurant has since gone out of business.

    1. They should have switched to lard.

      1. As a non meat-eater, all that I have to say to you, and everybody else who strives to turn the few non-meat items available in most restaurants into meat items, is fuck off.

        1. Why do YOU get to decide what the restaurant serves?

          1. Except it doesn’t seem that thom is suggesting he do so. The restaurant refrained from using lard on its own. It’s only the ban that would put lard in the running.

        2. I had an elderly neighbor who, thinking for some reason I was a vegetarian, would occasionally advise me “You *have* to eat a little meat sometimes, Honey — for the *vitamins*.”

        3. You’d really hate this Brazilian barbecue place I went to one time. It was almost comical. The only 2 items on the menu which weren’t a huge plate of meat were a “salad” consisting of a plate of avocado slices, and fried plantains. Which were probably fried in animal fat.

          1. Where is this gallbladder destroying paradise of which you speak?

            1. It’s in Astoria, Queens, NY. My friends who live there called it Super Mario Chicken, but I can’t remember the real name. And now that I think of it, it was Colombian, not Brazilian.

            2. Huh?
              Low fat diets (and the weight-loss drug Alli (orlistat)) are more likely to cause gallbladder disease.

              “If very little fat enters the small intestine as a consequence of a low-fat diet, the gall bladder doesn’t get the signal to squirt out the bile acids. The bile acids in the gall bladder sit there and tend to concentrate over time. Since a major component of the bile salts is cholesterol, the cholesterol tends to supersaturate and can precipitate out as small cholesterol stones.”


        4. Your poor dietary choices are none of our concern.

        5. It’s your friends at CSPI, thom, who strive to decide what restaurants can serve people. So why don’t you fuck off?

        6. It’s not intentional, if the non-animal products were superior, even the meat-eaters would push them. It just happens to be the animal-based fats that are healthier. If you’ve chosen non-meat for health reasons, you’re not keeping up with current events.

  5. Why don’t we just replace fatty acid chains with synthetically-designed micro-metallic fibers that offer a simulation of fatty acids, but which are not taken up into the normal fatty acid metabolism….Wait, I can start a chain of restaurants based on this idea: Metallic Donuts?

  6. The Food and Drug Administration is going to force food manufacturers to dump artificial trans fats.

    Can we go back to frying things in lard? Because that would be fine with me.

    1. Lard, sure! Tallow is better.
      Remember McDonald’s french fried deep fried in tallow? Wow they were good! Even Julia Child was a fan.

      1. That would be awesome but, vegetarians/vegans…

        1. Just don’t tell them. Then everyone wins.

        2. …can simply not order them.

          As if many do now.

          1. I agree, I meant the whining. See thom above.

        3. That would be awesome but, vegetarians/vegans…

          My wife’s vegetarian (and chronically vegan) best friend came over when I was already watching an Australian Broadcasting Company science show called Catalyst. There was a mention of Low-Carb diet. She decided to get snippy.
          “I just can’t believe in a diet that skips whole aisles in the store.”
          “You mean like the meat aisle? Dairy? Eggs? Deli?”

          1. “Ugh, that’s different”?

            1. Mostly she went off in a snit.
              I also mentioned I never shop for food in the HBA, paper goods, or cleaning products aisles.
              She should have known better. I was wearing my “EARTH FIRST! (We can strip mine the other planets later)” t-shirt.

          2. The perimeter of the grocery store, that’s pretty much the idea lady. She gets her nutrional advice from grocery store designers?

          3. Not to mention frozen foods, pet food and liquor.

            1. Damn, I missed three good shots, right there!

              I’ll have to tuck those away and pretend to be original when the time comes.

      2. Didn’t they also fry their apple pies in tallow? I miss those fried pies. McD’s would make a brazillion dollars if it brought those back on an annual limited basis, like the McRib.

        1. I just had lunch and you still made my mouth water.

          I’m not sure how the apple pies were prepared. If they went in the fryer, though, you can bet it was the same stuff.

          1. There was a web site a while back that listed all the McD’s that still serve fried apple pies. But I don’t think any do anymore.

            1. I can’t eat them anyway, unless I want to have get my clothes at Omar’s again.

            2. Really? When did this happen? I thought they still did the pies. Why would they stop?

            3. They do. At least in China and Hong Kong they do. But they have pineapple or taro instead of apple.

              Also one of only two places to get decent ice cream in China, the other being KFC. I don’t know what it is, but local brands just aren’t right. The imports found in Hong Kong are also good, identical to their American counterparts.

    2. This is why you save bacon fat. Because cooking other things in it is good. Mmmm. Bacon fried chicken.

      1. I still haven’t made bacon maple shortbread cookies. Anyone have a good maple shortbread cookies recipe they want to share?

      2. Hell, yes. When my coffee can of bacon fat get’s filled, it frying madness around my house. Home made french fries done in bacon fat may be the best thing ever.

        Now I have to buy some more bacon when I get home.

  7. The restaurant has since gone out of business.

    The system worked!

    1. One less poison vendor causing childhood obesity. Hooray for the sate!

    2. Very tangentially related: I loved watching my proggie friends contort themselves over the demise of Blockbuster. On the one hand, “evul corporashuns gotta die!”; and on the other hand, “so many people out of work!”.

      1. If it was up to them every own would still have an old grist mill and a horseshoer.

        1. Well, they’re organic!

        2. Horseshoer!? The term is farrier and yes they still exist.

  8. The FDA has, by this action, gone beyond their traditional mission of banning foods that are poisonous and now assert the right to ban foods that are merely bad for you.

    So the final step has been taken and you are now all fucking slaves.

    Enjoy it.

    1. “Yesterday, there was a Tzar and there were slaves. Today, there is no Tzar, but the slaves are still here. Tomorrow there will be only Tzars. We walk forward in the name of the free man of tomorrow, the Tzar of tomorrow. We have gone through the epoch when the masses were oppressed. We are now going through the epoch when the individual is oppressed in the name of the masses.”

      – Zamyatin

      1. Proletariat need to be dictated.

      2. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough.

    2. Every health department in the country has gone beyond their role (years ago) from immediate dangers to public health (shutting down the Broad Street Pump) to ‘contextual’ dangers.

      It was over a long, long time ago.

    3. Next up: tobacco.

  9. Police Chief Ralph Wiggum announced today that his department had seized some black-market transfat-laced donuts from a Mafia warehouse.

    “We confiscated those dangerous donuts and stored them away in the old evidence locker,” Wiggum proclaimed, patting his stomach.

    1. Isn’t Ralph a little young to be chief?

      1. In one of the episodes that takes place in the future, Ralph is the police chief. Or clones of Ralph, because he’s constantly getting killed.

    2. We also applied asset forfeiture against the warehouse and then put it on the market. We’re going to have the most awesome Christmas party ever.

  10. Can’t the 3D printers print us up some trans fats?

    You know, I blame all you fatties. You’re why we can’t have nice liberties.

  11. KotH is pretty good at going after local government nannyism.

  12. I was sitting in a coffee house once and a male, european, opera singer walked in, read a sign that said “No Trans Fats” and exclaimed “But what if I like my trannies rubinesque!?”

    The guy behind the counter didn’t get the joke.

    1. Jesus, you were somewhere the barista didn’t have enough degrees to get the joke? What wasteland do you live in?

      1. Actually he had the equivalent of a MS in food engineering from a Romanian university. His English was excellent, but occasionally quippy jokes would go over his head. He gave me excellent advice on improving the crumb and crust of my bread.

        One of the other baristas was finishing up an engineering/design degree and another was recovering from a wasted youth and recently finished a green engineering degree. There was also an architect who had the misfortune of becoming an architect during the housing bust.

  13. None of this talk about how bad or not trans fats (or its substitutes) are addresses the real issue: who is forcing anyone to eat them?

    1. You’ve just never faced the Krispy Kreme goon squads. They’re scary.

      1. yes. they wait by metro stops with boxes of donuts.

        1. My poor Metro stop is a wasteland. We never get buskers, politicians, or aggressive Krispy Kreme thugs.

      2. I’m pretty sure the DD would kill them before they got across the border.

    2. Look, the only way the free marketplace of the food industry can work is if the government can create a system where there’s an individual mandate to purchase certain foods from their new food marketplace. Once it’s online, all you need to do is to go to the affordable food web site and sign up. Of course, there will be some requirements placed on the foods you ordered, but the president promises that if you like your menu, you can keep it.

  14. Donuts aren’t supposed to have a shelf life.

  15. If they don’t want to unduly disrupt markets they could always just opt not to.

    For the government, doing nothing is not an option.

  16. For teh childrunz! Top! Men!

  17. The guy behind the counter didn’t get the joke.

    “Order a drink or get the fuck out.”

    1. “Pink Squirrels for everyone!”

  18. Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the move could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.

    Not counting, of course all the heart attacks and deaths that will be induced by people going back to frying in butter and lard, you authoritarian idiot.

    I am old enough to remember when the Foodists pushed lard and butter out of cooking because they were a “danger to peoples health” and doing so would prevent thousands of deaths every year.

    1. Butter and lard are probably healthier. Not that that justifies banning anything.

    2. Those foodist were wrong. Read more current nutritional news…

      1. This time, they’re right!

  19. Something tells me nationally implementing a law from CA and NY might piss off a lot of people who live in other states.

    Dunkin’ Donuts started voluntarily dumping trans fats in 2007, which required them to reformulate more than 50 menu items

    Had a donut from DD the other day. I haven’t had one in years, probably before 2007, and I can attest they are not as good as they once were. Sure they were fucking terrible for you health wise, but I, and anyone with half a brain cell, knew that, which is why it was something of a rare treat.

    1. Dunkin’ Donuts started voluntarily dumping trans fats in 2007

      Right around the time Krispy Kreme took off, if memory serves.

      Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

      1. Krispy Kreme sucks!

        1. Yeah, but so does Dunkin’. I fucking hate Dunkin Donuts. I don’t even know where to get a proper donut anymore they dominate the market so much around here.

          1. I love DD. Looooove. But I agree that mom n pops usually make them best. You need a large hipster population to be successful in the donut biz these days.

            1. have you been to Astro Donut? on G? maybe H?
              talk about hipster donuts.
              I haven’t been.

              1. forgot. it’s Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken.


                1. Oh fer cryin out loud. I don’t get over to Metro Center, like, ever.

            2. Voodoo Doughnuts is good.

            3. I love DD. Looooove.

              And you “ski” in Vermont. All your tastes are suspect.


          2. We’ve had something called Yum-Yum Donuts popping up all over the place. I guess it’s a CA company that bought up Winchell’s in 2004.

            We have yet to have an incursion by Tim Horton’s but I think we’re too far south for their Canadian overlords to survive for long.

          3. Dunkin Donuts …they dominate the market so much around here.

            You must be in New England. There are three Dunkin Donuts within 2 miles of my place, and about 10 or so within 4 miles.

            1. I know of a place near by buddy’s house where you can see 3 at once.

            2. Ever been to Providence? The entire city seems to be owned by DD, Brown and Johnson and Wales.

          4. If you ever see a Fractured Prune, stop in. I think it’s mostly in Maryland.

            1. Yeah, only in Ocean City and around Baltimore, as far as I know. I’m lucky; there’s one two blocks from my house.

        2. You monster. There is nothing better than when they take a box full of Krispy Kreme from the line right after the glazer.

          1. It’s true, a hot glazed KK is sublime.

            Winston-Salem has given the world Krispy Kreme donuts, Texas Pete hot sauce and Camel (and, of course, Winston and Salem) cigarettes.

            1. Krispy Kreme or Kaptious Kristen, Scott?

              1. KK is from Vermont, before she went all traitor on us and moved to DC.

  20. Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the move could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.

    I suppose it could prevent ALL the heart attacks and deaths. Christ, but I’m sick of these health nazis and their bullshit weasel words. “May” cause X, “could” prevent Y. Or, may not cause X or prevent Y. We, apparently, don’t really know! But that won’t stop us from sending a SWAT team to your hot dog stand to jack . . . you . . . up.

    Because FYTW. Get in line and don’t ask questions, utermenschen.

    1. Not to mention that 20k is pretty much statistically insignificant.

    2. This.

      It further pisses me off when the “up to” qualifier is added.

  21. Making the donut shop more healthy is just another way to ensure that cops make it home safely from their shift.

    1. +French cruller

      So many awesome comments today. What is with you people?

      1. Who you calling “you people”? You misandrist.

        1. This is why there are no male libertarians.

          1. Really? I thought it was women who tended toward the statist. Or am I missing /sarc here?

    2. I love me some donuts, but I’m informed enough to know they negative health impacts have less to do with what they are fried in than what they are freaking made of…

  22. Demolition Man was an oracle.

    Lenina Huxley: It’s been deemed that anything not good for you is bad; hence, illegal.

    An image from Flickr that has a nice grasp on the Nanny state:

    Total bliss is just one more regulation away.

  23. Damn that Teddy Roosevelt!

    What will “Mr. Republican” want next?

    Pure Food and Drug laws, probably.


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