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November 07. 2013 11:03PM

The transfat ban: Force vs. information


The Food and Drug Administration is banning artificial transfats. As The New York Times reported, “Even as little as two or three grams of trans fat a day can increase the health risk, scientists say.” So what is the average American transfat intake? As of 2012 it was down to about a gram a day. If the average American is not consuming enough transfat to pose a health risk, why the ban?


In 2006, the FDA required artificial transfat to be listed on food nutrition labels. Average American transfat consumption fell from 4.6 grams a day to about 1 gram a day. The move was a huge success. But the entirely unhealthy additive is still used by some restaurants and processed food companies. The FDA says nothing short of total elimination is acceptable.


It is hard to argue that the substance is anything but unhealthy. Still, the public information campaign was working. Further educating Americans about transfats could have produced the same result as the ban. But that would mean treating Americans like adults. That is something the Obama administration is just not willing to do.


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