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Organic Consumers Association

Trans Fat "Ban" Not What It Appears

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

It may actually be a way to promote a Monsanto GMO product. Action Alert!

You may have already heard the news: the FDA has banned trans fats! Well, sort of.

Under the FDA's proposed rule, trans fat itself is not banned. Instead, the ban is on the major source of trans fats in processed food-partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). PHOs are artificial trans fats, created via the process of adding hydrogen to vegetable oils in order to make them semi-solid. Naturally occurring trans fat is found in some meat and dairy including beef, lamb and, in small amounts, butter. Many margarines, on the other hand, are made with PHOs and therefore contain high levels of artificial trans fats. Increasingly, margarines are switching to palm oils (which are semi-solid at room temperature and solid if refrigerated) to eliminate PHOs.

It's important to note that since this is a proposed rule, and not a final one, there's still a chance it could be changed or dropped. In the rule, the FDA mentions that the agency is open to alternate approaches to addressing PHOs in food, such as the setting of acceptable trans fat threshold levels.

The timing and intent of the FDA's rule is suspect for two reasons. First, it was announced only after most companies had already eliminated trans fat-it's currently only in a handful of foods. Second, the ban will promote market demand for two new GMO soybeans by Monsanto and DuPont, which are engineered for trans fat free oils.

Essentially, the FDA released the PHO ban at a politically perfect point: when it would no longer anger Big Food, but would be of tremendous benefit to Big Biotech's and Big Food's newly deregulated products.  


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