What do you want?  A healthy diet!

When do you want it?  In three years!

The Food and Drug Administration is giving the food industry three years to stop clogging the arteries of the American people with trans fats. A piece by Sabrina Tavernese in the New York Times June 16 stated:

“Trans fats — a major contributor to heart disease in the United States — have already been substantially reduced in foods, but they still lurk in many popular products, including frostings, microwave popcorn, packaged pies, frozen pizzas, margarines and coffee creamers.

“The agency announced its plans to act in 2013 and has since addressed more than 6,000 public comments. The decision Tuesday was final and would effectively remove industrial trans fats from the American diet by 2018, a change that the agency has estimated could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year.

“The food industry said it was pleased that the agency had given it three years to carry out the rule, but also said it planned to seek permission to keep using small amounts of trans fats in certain products, an indication of just how difficult it is to root them out…”

“Partially hydrogenated oils are cheaper than saturated animal fats like butter and were long 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…

In 2006, the F.D.A. required companies to list trans fat content on nutrition labels, a shift that prompted many producers to eliminate them. 

The agency estimates that consumption of trans fats fell by 78 percent from 2003 to 2012, and it contends that the labeling rule and subsequent reformulation of foods were important drivers.

Your correspondent requested a clarification from the reporter:

Does the prevention of 20,000 heart attacks/year mean … compared to the present? Or compared to 2003 or 2006 —whenever it was that the food industry started “substantially reducing?” 

 If the former, and there has been a 78% reduction, then they were causing more than 80,000 heart attacks and 30,000 deaths annually, for all those years.

In any case, how dare they take three years to stop putting deadly hydrogenated oils in our “food products?”  

                                         —Fred Gardner