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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5686/the-artificial-trans-fats-revolution/

The Artificial Trans Fats Revolution…

September 27, 2006 by

…And why the free market is already removing this “toxic” substance from your diet:

America’s fast-food chains, whose foods are among the most laden with trans fats, are moving toward voluntary reduction.

Wendy’s International has reduced trans fats by switching to a different cooking oil, while McDonald’s has been trying since 2002 to reduce trans fats in its french fries.

The Dunkin’ Donuts chain in 2004 started removing trans fats from its bagels, muffins, and cookies and is researching alternative ways to make the poster child of trans fats – doughnuts – healthier while still satisfying customers.

“We’ve served million of servings, and customers cannot tell the difference in taste,” said Bob Bertini, a spokesperson for Wendy’s. “It was cost-neutral to us – using the new oil costs no more than the old oil.”

But, don’t worry, if you really want to clog your arteries with no upside, they’ll still be available, at least for the moment.

{ 8 comments }

Person September 28, 2006 at 12:14 am

Uh huh … you’re “sure” customers can’t tell the difference. Kinda like how Coca-cola et. al were “sure” no one could tell the difference between Coke with high-fructose corn syrup and that made with sugar, right?

Anticipating declining food quality in near future…

jeffrey September 28, 2006 at 3:51 pm

I’m not sure how “voluntary” this is given the threat by the NY state to ban the stuff, and the lawsuits galore that are brewing against food manufacturers.

Actually, if everyone had just stuck to lard, none of this would be a problem! (Actually I’m serious about that)

Vanmind September 28, 2006 at 4:11 pm

All I know is that last week I ate at McScoogies for the first time in about five years, just to congratulate them for their recent dietary efforts.

I’d call that a small victory for the market. Heck, I might even go back to calling them “McDonald’s.”

Hawthorne September 28, 2006 at 11:07 pm

I, for one, think this is a good thing. The voluntary aspect is welcome as artificial trans fats provide no benefit to the human body. You can get your trans fats from natural sources and not have to think about the artificial trans fats clogging your arteries. I don’t understand those who will uphold the use of trans fats when it is cost-neutral, taste negligible, and by no means beneficial to the inner-workings of your heart. What is the upside to trans fats besides just having the choice? Do you want the option of pesticides in your fries too?

Lisa Casanova September 29, 2006 at 8:37 am

Hawthorne,
There may be no upside other than “having the choice”, but the choice is the only thing that matters. The right to put what you choose in your body may seem like small potatoes when you’re talking about fats, but it really, really matters a lot when you get to more important things you want to do with your body, like take risks with experimental medications when you’re ill. By the time you get to that point, you’ve already conceded that someone else is better qualified to decide what goes into your body than you are, and you’re left with no choices when it matters most. The principle itself matters a lot more than you might think just from the trans fats example. It’s worth defending, because you really don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.

Ohhh Henry September 29, 2006 at 10:17 am

I just heard Mayor Bloomberg on WABC Radio, boasting about how banning trans fats is going to save “500 lives per year in New York City”. He said that food producers only started labelling foods with trans fat because “the government forced them to”.

He also bragged about how New Yorkers live longer than the average American, which he implied is because of all of the government regulation to which New Yorkers are subjected.

When he received a smattering of applause for having “eliminated smoking” from New York, he made a little joke: “You people who didn’t applaud, we’re going to be taking down your names.” Hilarious. Another Republican of the Bush-Schwarzenegger school.

Hawthorne September 29, 2006 at 6:51 pm

I see the introduction of artificial trans fats into the food supply much like I see aggression, i.e. the initiation of force. It should not be a choice. There is no principle. No one with adequate knowledge of nutrition would choose to put artificial trans fats into their diet. There is absolutely no benefit. Experimental medicines are a whole different affair. You are confusing two or more issues Lisa Casanova. I agree choice is preferable in almost every case, but no one can come up with one benefit to trans fats, not even cost, not even taste, just like no one can come up with the benefits of the initiation of force. No one should cook with it if they have the best interests of their customers in mind.

Rob October 5, 2006 at 7:38 am

If my memory serves, the whole trans-fat thing started because animal fats and vegetable shortening were the bad guys according to the nutrition theory at the time (mid 80′s). Fats which were liquid at room temperature were the good guys. The switch to these oils was a market reaction to percieved cutomer desire for good nutrition as it was understood then.

And FTR, this constant see-sawing in the realm of nutrition and health only gives evidence that we really know next to nothing about age-related diseases.

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