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posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:24AM   Printer-friendly
from the a-fat-lot-of-good-that-will-do dept.

FDA to ban trans-fats within 3 years

The FDA is finally rectifying one of their biggest failures ever -- trans fats. The FDA on Tuesday ruled that trans fat is not "generally recognized as safe" for use in human food.

"In many ways, trans fat is a real tragic story for the American diet," Nissen said. "In the 1950s and '60s, we mistakenly told Americans that butter and eggs were bad for them and pushed people to margarine, which is basically trans fat. What we've learned now is that saturated fat is relatively neutral -- it is the trans fat that is really harmful and we had made the dietary situation worse."

USA to ban partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil

According to multiple sources, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to ban partially-hydrogenated oil, a major source of trans-fats, which have been shown to cause heart disease. The ban will go into effect in 3 years.

New York Times:

The agency has proposed that partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, no longer be "generally recognized as safe."

That means companies would have to prove that such oils are safe to eat, a high hurdle given that scientific literature overwhelmingly shows the contrary. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is no safe level for consumption of them, a conclusion that the F.D.A. cited in its reasoning.

Partially hydrogenated oils are cheaper than saturated animal fats like butter, and for years were thought to be healthier. They are formed when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid. They became popular in fried and baked goods and in margarine. Crisco, originally marketed in the beginning of the 20th century, was the archetype, although it now contains no trans fat.

Official press release from the FDA:

In 2013, the FDA made a tentative determination that PHOs could no longer be considered GRAS [generally recognized as safe] and is finalizing that determination after considering public comments.

Since 2006, manufacturers have been required to include trans fat content information on the Nutrition Facts label of foods. Between 2003 and 2012, the FDA estimates that consumer trans fat consumption decreased about 78 percent and that the labeling rule and industry reformulation of foods were key factors in informing healthier consumer choices and reducing trans fat in foods. While trans fat intake has significantly decreased, the current intake remains a public health concern.

The Guardian:

The oils were popularized in the 1950s, when it was thought that they would be healthier than saturated fats. Americans turned to products such as trans fat-laden margarine in droves after the federal government recommended a cutback in saturated animal fats.

Today, there is a broad scientific consensus that the oils contribute to heart disease and are linked to type two diabetes.

A young nutritionist at the University of Illinois discovered some of the first evidence that the oils could be unhealthy in 1957, when he found large amounts of the fat in the clogged arteries of patients who died of heart attacks. The scientist, Fred Kummerow, followed that discovery with decades of scientific papers, despite that his findings wouldn't be widely accepted until decades later.

In August 2013, with the help of San Diego attorney Gregory S Weston, Kummerow sued the FDA for its inaction, saying it had violated the New Deal-era legislation that granted the FDA authority over food safety. By November, the FDA had responded to the lawsuit by issuing the tentative ruling.


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:22AM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:22AM (#197122) Journal

    Banning trans-fats is significant progress. It's incredible how much of our research on negative health effects is suppressed or drowned out by propaganda. There was the infamous congressional hearing at which all 7 of the major tobacco executives denied that nicotine was addictive. Since 9/11 we've become much more fearful, to the point of obsessing over security, yet dangers from food are routinely overlooked. The only security we seem to care about is security against bullets and hijackers, the only enemies many of us see are other peoples. Climate Change? Deny that it's real or a problem, or our fault.

    Now to ban unhealthy plastics. And there are a bunch. Bisphenol A and phthalates are only the tip. I hear that bisphenol S is the favorite replacement for BPA, but it may actually be even worse for our health.

    Another stunner is that lead is still in our drinking water. We've known since the days of the Romans that lead is unhealthy, but manufacturers are still foolishly loathe to give it up. Though things have gotten much better. In 2014, new regulations went into effect that reduced the maximum amount of lead in the brass of faucets from 8% to 0.25%. But there's a giant loophole: only faucets for drinking water have to meet the new standard. Outdoor faucets and shower and tub faucets can still have up to 8% lead. I hoped that since kitchen faucets have to be low lead, at least one manufacturer would also make low lead tub faucets, that it wouldn't be a big deal. Nope. I called them all, and none of them are bothering. We've seen crime rates fall from phasing out leaded gasoline. It's also not that vital for manufacturing. Tools wear out about twice as fast when machining brass that has no lead. That's all. Another option is bismuth brass rather than lead. Bismuth has the same effect as lead, making the brass easier to machine. And, bismuth is not toxic. So it's hardly cost prohibitive to dump the lead. Yet they won't do it.

    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:44AM

    by c0lo (156) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:44AM (#197129) Journal

    Banning trans-fats is significant progress.

    Yeeaahhh... suuure it iiis!
    Look how much progress the alcohol prohibition and war on drugs brought to the US society

    Why gives me an idea: with a view for past the 3 years, is anyone willing to set up a margarine importation chain into US?
    You know, those Bigfoot submarines [wikipedia.org] don't build themselves overnight and we'd need to tweak some flotation details just in case we need to scuttle some. (come on! Today it's legal to discuss the details, it's not conspiracy... yet).

    (grin)

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:57AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:57AM (#197135)
      But I don't know anyone who would prefer to eat margarine when they could have true butter.
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:04AM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:04AM (#197139) Journal
        Bah... minor detail. Some ads with gorgeous babes using margarine to oil their boo... I mean, healthy kids being good all day in exchange for just a bit of margarine on their toast at dinner time and we're set.
        Besides, just wait until it's banned, everything forbidden is fascinatingly attractive!
        (grin)
        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:53PM

        by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:53PM (#197286) Homepage Journal

        Margarine keeps longer. I eat butter/clones roughly once a year when the family is in town for Thanksgiving.

        Don't worry, I'm not a health nut - as a bachelor I avoid cooking for one.

    • (Score: 2) by dyingtolive on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:01AM

      by dyingtolive (952) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:01AM (#197138)

      I haven't had margarine since I was about 10. Frankly I haven't missed it in the slightest.

      I bake cookies sometimes with crisco once every six months or so, and use it for seasoning cast iron, but those are about my only use cases for it. I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other.

      Fun fact: Original vegetable margarine (post WW2, that is) was a white "Crisco" color, and briefly started to be colored yellow before the dairy industry fought back. They actually packaged capsules of artificial coloring for the consumer to mix into it to make it look more like butter. Sometime thereafter, the veggie oil industry got that turned around and started making it yellow again. While we toss dyes into everything it seems, something about that whole bit just strikes me as particularly dishonest.

      --
      Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @05:08AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @05:08AM (#197154)

        post WW2

        Perhaps after--but definitely before.
        Daddy told us tales about how it was his weekly job to mix that into the fake butter.

        -- gewg_

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by M. Baranczak on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:12AM

      by M. Baranczak (1673) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:12AM (#197142)

      First of all, the headline is wrong. They're not banning trans fats. They're banning partially hydrogenated oil (PHO), which is the main source of trans fats nowadays, but not the only one.

      Here's the big difference between alcohol and PHO: there's no substitute for alcohol. That's why people were willing to buy it from sketchy motherfuckers during the Prohibition. On the other hand, there are many perfectly good substitutes for PHO. Any food that PHO is used for can be made with traditional forms of grease. You think cookies and potato chips were invented in the 1950s? The only advantage of PHO is its long shelf life, which slightly lowers costs for the producers and retailers. You won't even be able to taste the difference.

      That shit is poisonous, and there's not even a good excuse to keep using it. This is exactly the sort of thing that the FDA is supposed to be doing.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:26AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:26AM (#197146)

        See that '(grin)' at the end of colo's post?
        That's his way of telling you he's being an idiot on purpose and its totally your fault for taking him seriously.

        He likes to do that. Its a waste of everybody else's time because there are plenty of people who would seriously make the kind of arguments he makes.
        His habit of doing that is such a time-waster that it earned him the second of two entries in my custom soylent killfile - the other guy is MCD.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:54AM

          by c0lo (156) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:54AM (#197152) Journal
          1. Thanks for avoiding a waste of my time in trying to find idiotic ways of explaining the meaning of '(grin)', it earned you a +Informative from me.
          2. May I cite your post with a link for my future grins?
          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @05:01AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @05:01AM (#197153)

            the meaning of '(grin)'

            curling one's lips back at evil

      • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Wednesday June 17 2015, @08:11AM

        by shortscreen (2252) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @08:11AM (#197188) Journal

        I've noticed that trans fat is pretty common in MREs [wikipedia.org]. I wonder what PHO alternative they can use that would maintain the long shelf life.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tibman on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:34AM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:34AM (#197148)

      This is more like an alcohol prohibition on shitty booze only. Sure you could pay more for black market shitty booze but it's better to drink the good stuff for cheaper.

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:45PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:45PM (#197249)

        I simply wish that all corporations would be honest and upfront. Say the truth and let people decide. Don't ban anything but make it all legal and available. Does who choose healthy lives good for them. Freedom is about choice but we NEED to be FULLY informed. Screw profits and cost. There is enough wealth for everyone. So what if a company spends billions less or the gov make trillions more. Its all relative and illusory. Wake up everyone. Make all things, drugs, gambling, sex for cash LEGAL, but tell us how messed up it is to choose such paths. Make us responsible. If half of the worlds people die from overdose on anything so what, nothing ever dies anyways. Wake up.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:50PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:50PM (#197284)

          Advertising and deception are the same thing. You'll never be able to legislate honesty into people, artificially-legally-constructed or otherwise, and if there's no consequences for lying why would anybody be honest? Living is a constant stream of risk:benefit analyses, but most people are stupid and lazy so you can't expect them to always be 100% properly informed all the time, especially in the US where the majority proudly boast of their willful ignorance and hatred of knowledge and learning, and its ordinary victim-blaming when you then blame those harmed because they don't have the time to properly research everything and don't even have access to the information or the ability to sort through and understand it all.

          • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:32PM

            by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:32PM (#197363)

            No, blaming them for not taking the proper precautions (informing themselves) is *not* "victim-blaming". If you can take reasonable precautions to prevent some bad thing from happening, and you don't, it's perfectly reasonable to blame someone for not doing so. After all, they themselves chose not to do so, so they're responsible for that choice.

            I'm tired of people using the phrase "victim-blaming" everywhere when it doesn't make even the slightest amount of sense. Victim-blaming is in situations where you're blamed for someone else's harmful actions (e.g. you're blamed for a rapist's choice to choose to rape you), not in situations where you're blamed for not taking reasonable precautions when they do exist. Quit with this idiocy.

            • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:34PM

              by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:34PM (#197364)

              And if there are no reasonable precautions one could take, and someone else says there are, then explain to them why that is false rather than just saying it's "victim blaming".

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Wednesday June 17 2015, @07:59AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 17 2015, @07:59AM (#197186) Journal

      Look how much progress the alcohol prohibition and war on drugs brought to the US society

      Nobody gets a high, or pleasure out of noshing on margarine. Nobody is selling on the street corner.
      There is really no incentive to work around this prohibition any more than going out of your way to get around regulation about lead in paint.

      Margarine was an invention of bad science, foisted on the public, which really still wanted butter. Its being belatedly replaced by better science.
      There are dozens of things that have gone quietly into oblivion by science pointing out the stupidity, or governments eventually outlawing them.
      Most of us cut transfat out of our diet 10 years ago.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday June 17 2015, @10:27AM

        by sjames (2882) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @10:27AM (#197199) Journal

        As I understand it, margarine was originally a wartime substitute for butter and nobody really liked it as much. After the war as things were normalizing, the industry wanted to find a way to keep selling the inferior but profitable product, and so suddenly it became "better for you".

        Personally, based on my own survey of the evidence, I haven't willingly consumed margarine since the early '80s.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:29PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:29PM (#197242)

          So why aren't you wary of similar machinations this time around?

          • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday June 17 2015, @07:53PM

            by sjames (2882) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @07:53PM (#197483) Journal

            Because I've looked at the actual research rather than the claptrap from the TV.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @09:51PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @09:51PM (#197555)

              Because I've looked at the actual research

              Link to one good paper on this topic.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday June 17 2015, @11:22AM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @11:22AM (#197208) Journal
        (oh, gosh. Joke's on me, then. Next time I'll put a big ASCII-art grin at the end of my post)
        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:21AM

    by mhajicek (51) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:21AM (#197144)

    Regarding the brass alloys; a machine shop won't use a more expensive new custom alloy unless they have to, and a foundry won't start producing the stock in large quantities to bring the price down until there's significant demand. They're both trying to make a profit and have plenty of competition. Also, halving tool life can significantly eat into a narrow profit margin.

    --
    The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Thursday June 18 2015, @03:17PM

      by bzipitidoo (4388) on Thursday June 18 2015, @03:17PM (#197842) Journal

      They have to make kitchen and bathroom sink faucets low lead, and they are. It's not like the infrastructure isn't already in place. It seemed it shouldn't be a big deal to also make shower and tub fixtures low lead, convert everything. Plus, since absolutely no one is doing it, I would think that at least one manufacturer would see a market opportunity in changing and being the only one to produce low lead shower and tub faucets, that they could advertise this fact and win some market share. They could charge premium prices too. I'm sure the superrich and rich would jump on a product like that.

      So much for market competition. Customers have a want that could easily be met but isn't, no manufacturer can be bothered. Another sign of their indifference is the confusion of standards. NSF 61 is the key standard, covering all kinds of stuff, including lead. You might think that if a product is marked NSF 61, it includes everything in the standard and it is low lead, but no. The low lead part is in "annex G". Has to say NSF 61-G, or it's not low lead. Confusing. You'd think "chapter 61" of a book would include section 61.1, 61.2, and so forth, but it seems manufacturers are flying against that convention. Perhaps it's somewhat deliberate? And it took me a while to dig up that information, which could be another sign that they don't want people poking into those details. It can also say NSF/ANSI 372 and be low lead, though I have not seen any fixtures with that label. 61 covers everything, while 372 is only about lead.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Jiro on Wednesday June 17 2015, @09:19AM

    by Jiro (3176) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @09:19AM (#197193)

    "We've gotten paranoid about terrorism after 9/11, why haven't we extended this to beiung paranoid about food too?" is a bad argument. You're basically pointing to a harmful overreaction that resulted in the TSA and an excuse for surveillance and saying "let's overreact this way about food too".

    Or to put it another way, it's like saying "we imprisoned Japanese-Americans in World War II, why haven't we extended this to Muslims now?" Because even imprisoning Japanese-Americans was a horrible violation of rights that we should not emulate in any way.

  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Wednesday June 17 2015, @11:02AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @11:02AM (#197202) Journal

    Since 9/11 we've become much more fearful, to the point of obsessing over security, yet dangers from food are routinely overlooked. The only security we seem to care about is security against bullets and hijackers, the only enemies many of us see are other peoples.

    It's obvious that it's a war of propaganda not about saving lives.

    Now to ban unhealthy plastics. And there are a bunch. Bisphenol A and phthalates are only the tip. I hear that bisphenol S is the favorite replacement for BPA, but it may actually be even worse for our health.

    One of the tubes used with Epoxy is supposedly raw Bisphenol A so it's kind pure poison. And still consumers are allowed to handle it.

    In 2014, new regulations went into effect that reduced the maximum amount of lead in the brass of faucets from 8% to 0.25%. But there's a giant loophole: only faucets for drinking water have to meet the new standard. Outdoor faucets and shower and tub faucets can still have up to 8% lead.

    Use rust free metals?

    We've seen crime rates fall from phasing out leaded gasoline.

    Thats kind of spooky.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Wednesday June 17 2015, @12:11PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 17 2015, @12:11PM (#197220)

    low lead tub faucets

    If its any consolation back in my old chemistry days I got to work with lead compounds in the lab so safety was an issue that was discussed and with the sole exception of weird organometallics (you'd know if they're in your water because you'd already be dead) lead doesn't cross the skin barrier very well, not well at all. There are some studies of old electronics industry employees (back when we had an electronics industry) and old ham radio/electronic/computer types and the TLDR is metallic and simple ionic lead has been measured to be not much of an issue. We have no shortage of gun culture people who are exposed to quite a bit of lead over their lifetimes, and they have to do pretty dumb things to get poisoned although if they try really hard it can happen. A faucet isn't gonna do it.

    There are also some rather obvious dosage issues based on water velocity. I was thirsty this morning and walked up to the sink and drank some water that had marinated in the faucet for about 8 hours, its very important that faucet be lead free, which it is. On the other hand in the shower a couple minutes later the water that flows thru the faucet only gets to dissolve the leaded valve and pipe for a few milliseconds on its way out the shower sprayer. So a shower valve with many orders of magnitude more lead would expose me to less lead than a kitchen faucet... assuming I drank shower water full of shampoo and soap and shedded hairs and WTF else, of course.

    Lead pretty much has to involve your mouth to poison you, either drinking or eating, other than (insert chemistry oddities)

    • (Score: 2) by tathra on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:04PM

      by tathra (3367) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:04PM (#197292)

      the issue with non-sink faucets having higher lead content isn't some worry about transdermal absorption, its that people drink water from them all the time. i've drank from outside spigots more times than i can count, people will fill large pots from the bathtub to cook with if they can't fit the pot in the sink, etc. non-"drinking" faucets are drank from all the time.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:26PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:26PM (#197316)

        people will fill large pots from the bathtub to cook with if they can't fit the pot in the sink

        That's an interesting hack, I like that idea. Its heavy, however. I've done a lot of 2 qt koolaid jug bucket work to fill large containers. I imagine my canning pressure cooker must weigh a hundred pounds when its fully loaded so slinging something like that around is non trivial.

        I don't think I've drank from a hose since I was a little kid although I'm sure it happens. Flow rate would probably save you, when I drink a cup from my kitchen faucet I might only draw a cup of water thats been marinating in the faucet, but outside out of a hose the duration of time the water spends in contact in a flowing hose must be extremely small, fractions of a second, likely.