Trans Fat News
For the latest news, start at the bottom of the page
May 1, 2003
We file a lawsuit asking a court in California to order Kraft/Nabisco
to cease and desist from target marketing and selling Oreo cookies to
children in the State of California until such cookies contain no trans
fat. The basis for the lawsuit is that the existence and danger of trans
fat is not common knowledge, especially as it is not listed on the Nutrition
Facts label, and very few children are aware of it. (No money is requested
in the lawsuit.)
May 12-14, 2003
There is massive media coverage across the United States regarding the
lawsuit and the existence and danger of trans fat. Millions of people
who had never even heard of trans fat are informed for the first time.
The media coverage also reaches other countries including Britain. There
has been a dramatic increase in awareness in just three days.
May 14, 2003
We announce that we are voluntarily dismissing the lawsuit because we
can no longer tell the court that the existence and danger of trans fat
is not common knowledge. All the publicity had made it common knowledge
among those people that were potentially receptive to such information,
and word is spreading quickly. Also, Kraft announced in response to the
lawsuit that it will reduce or eliminate the trans fat in the Oreo.
May 23, 2003
We file a Petition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA")
in response to its proposal to delay trans fat labeling until 2006 and
its abandonment of its own previous proposal to include a warning about
trans fats on the Nutrition Facts label.
Note: There are four kinds of fat. Three of the four types of fat are
listed on the Nutrition Facts label: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated,
and saturated. Trans fat is the most dangerous type of fat, but incredibly
it is the only one that is not listed.
Click here to read our Petition.
May 24, 2003
Following media coverage in Britain about the Oreo lawsuit in the United
States, it is announced that the recipes for Mars Bars and Snickers in
Britain have been changed to remove the trans fat because of health concerns.
May 25, 2003
Kraft adds a page to its website to address the issue of trans fat in
its Oreo cookies. Kraft says it is responding to "recent news reports."
(One of the points that we made in our lawsuit was that Kraft did not
mention trans fats on its website.) Click here
to see the Kraft webpage.
May 28, 2003
The White House, through the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB"),
requests that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS")
issue stronger warnings about the danger of trans fats "to save lives."
The FDA is part of HHS. Click here
for the OMB press release and OMB's letter to HHS.
June 2, 2003
It is announced that the trans fat is being removed from Mars Bars and
Snickers produced in Australia.
June 19, 2003
The Yahoo banner ad for the entire day is an Oreo advertisement. It is
very unusual to see any food product advertised on Yahoo. Is this a sign
that people are avoiding Oreos because of the trans fat, and Kraft/Nabisco
is now trying to restore sales? Here's the Yahoo banner ad.
July 1, 2003
Kraft's announces that it plans to take steps to improve the nutritional
values of its products, provide additional nutrition labeling even when
such labeling is not legally required, include trans fat content on the
labeling, and discontinue some of its more objectionable marketing practices
aimed at children including "the elimination of all in-school marketing."
Stephen Joseph, the Chief Executive Officer of BTF, says that he is "delighted"
with Kraft's announcement. "This is exactly what the Oreo lawsuit
was all about. We sued Kraft because it did not disclose on its labeling
or its website that Oreo cookies contained dangerous trans fat, and because
Kraft was marketing the cookies in schools directly to children. I hope
and trust that Kraft will back up its words with action. Kraft has a responsibility
to parents and children, and all of its customers, to do the best it can
to alleviate the obesity problem and the resulting raging epidemic of
type 2 diabetes in children."
to read about Kraft's initiative.
July 1, 2003
The FDA Commissioner says in a speech that "we do need to get [trans
fat] on the label as soon as possible." He said that trans fat labeling
will take effect "very soon," though he refused to elaborate
on a timeline.
July 3, 2003
Success! Kraft confirms that it is now making a major effort to reduce
and eliminate the trans fat in its products. Kraft's Senior VP for Corporate
Affairs in North America, Michael Mudd, says: "One place where we're
making great progress is with cookies and crackers. . . . With one exception,
we think that almost across the board we are going to be able to eliminate
trans fat, or cut it to about half a gram per serving in cookies and crackers."
The exception is the cream in cookies such as the Oreo. Mudd says: "That's
a challenge. . . . We have not cracked the code on that yet. But we do
have an active research project under way to try to make progress on reducing
trans fat in the cream filling."
This is exactly what we asked for in our lawsuit!
July 5, 2003
The UK arm of Nestle announces that it is removing the trans fat from
Rolo and Toffee Crisp and possibly other products, and Cadbury is considering
doing the same. Click here
for information. Also, according to the Daily Mail on July 5, McVities
and (British) Kellogg's are also planning to eliminate trans fat from
July 9, 2003
The FDA announces that it will delay mandatory trans fat labeling until
2006 and will not require any warning on the label about trans fat. Click
The FDA's action is a major disappointment. The FDA had previously said
that 2,000 to 5,600 lives are lost each year because of the lack of trans
fat labeling. Only last week the FDA Commissioner said that "we do
need to get [trans fat] on the label as soon as possible." Why do
we have to wait another two and a half years? (The FDA first proposed
trans fat labeling in 1999.) Answer: to protect the food industry. The
FDA says that it wants to allow food manufacturers "to use their
current label inventories." Using up preprinted labels is apparently
more important than preventing thousands of deaths!
The FDA had previously proposed that the label would include a warning
in a footnote on the label that intake of trans fat should be as low as
possible. Why has the FDA dropped its proposal to include a warning on
the label? Answer: to appease the food industry. (Frito-Lay, however,
has voluntarily put the warning on its labels.)
The FDA is violating the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990.
See our FDA Petition (in which we proposed
that food companies be required to post trans fat information for each
product on the Internet, without delay).
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson told a news conference
today that "trans-fats are bad fats. The less trans-fat you and I
eat, the healthier we will be." We wholeheartedly agree. So why delay
the labeling? Why no warning?
Regarding the footnote warning, the FDA announced that it would seek
comments on this issue from the public, to be submitted by October 9,
2003. Click here
to read the FDA's invitation for comments. (Note: We have submitted comments.
See news for October 9, 2003.)
July 10, 2003
PepsiCo, which owns Frito-Lay, reports that Doritos had "strong
growth driven by Doritos Salsa last year and the move to remove all trans
fat from Doritos."
July 11, 2003
Political consultant James Carville says that the inclusion of trans
fat information on food nutrition labels was "a huge issue"
in Washington. Click here
July 20, 2003
Archer Daniels Midland Company announces the launch of NovaLipid™
zero and reduced trans-fat oils and shortenings. NovaLipid’s range
of oils and shortenings can be used in margarine, baking, frying, confectionery,
snack and cereal products. Click here
September 23, 2003
Frito-Lay launches print ad campaign declaring that Lay's, Doritos, Tostitos,
Fritos, Ruffles, and Cheetos snacks are among Frito-Lay's many chip brands
that are already in market and on shelf with zero grams of trans fat.
One year ago, Frito-Lay declared it would remove trans fats and now it
has become the first company to undertake these changes and deliver products
October 9, 2003
We submit comments to the FDA regarding (A) the inclusion of a footnote
on the Nutrition Facts label and (B) whether a food manufacturer may claim
that a product that contains less than 0.5g of trans fat is "trans
fat-free." Click here
to read the FDA's invitation for comments.
In our comments, we say that a footnote should be included that reads
as follows: "Intake of trans fat should be as low as possible."
This was wording that the FDA has originally proposed, but had dropped
under pressure from the food industry. We also say that a product that
contains any partially hydrogenated oil is not trans fat-free, and food
manufacturers should not be allowed to claim that it is "trans fat-free."
Click here to read our comments.
On October 2, 2003, we asked on our website for you, the public, to submit
comments to the FDA. At least, 72 have done so as of January 5, 2004.
The National Food Processors
Association (NFPA) also submitted comments to the FDA. NFPA describes
itself as "the voice of the $500 billion food processing industry
on scientific and public policy issues involving food safety, nutrition,
technical and regulatory matters and consumer affairs." Its members
Eye, General Mills, Gerber, Frito-Lay, Heinz, Hershey, Kellogg, Kraft,
Nestle, Oscar Mayer, Pepperidge Farm, PepsiCo, Taco Bell, and Unilever.
NFPA issued a press release regarding its comments, stating as follows:
"NFPA does not believe that a trans fat footnote should be considered
by FDA.... It appears FDA’s assumption is that one of the primary
purposes of a footnote is to educate consumers. We respectfully disagree
with this premise. Consumers must be educated about the need to restrict
their intake of trans fat using tools more effective than a label footnote....
When developing messages focused on nutritional components such as trans
fat, FDA must ensure that the message is clear and understandable for
consumers.... Informing is not educating; we need to remember that. The
food label is first and foremost an information tool. Educating consumers
about nutrition requires other tools.”
The NFPA wants to continue to withhold the truth about trans fats from
October 15, 2003
We file our lawsuit against McDonald's. Click here
November 3, 2003
Kellogg Chief Executive Carlos Gutierrez told Reuters the company is
experimenting with ways to reformulate some cookies to reduce trans fats
before the new labeling requirement takes effect in 2006, but he declined
to provide specifics. About half of Kellogg's products already lack trans
fats, he said.
November 4, 2003
It is announced in Canada that a national network has been established
to follow the food chain from the farmer's field to the grocery store.
The Advanced Foods and Materials Network will be based out of the University
of Guelph in Ontario. Every aspect of the food that Canadians eat is about
to be examined by a team of researchers who are promising to help consumers
navigate their way towards a healthier diet. One
issue that will be looked at is whether trans fat should be banned.
The network is part of the Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence
(NCE) program and it is the first to focus solely on food. Projects will
soon get underway on such issues as lowering cholesterol and plant sterols.
The five-year program includes researchers from 29 universities, 32 industries
and 29 government departments and could provide some insights for confused
The network is promising that it will help consumers digest the information
on food labels. One of their aims is to make the Canadian food supply
healthier and safer.
To do that, a team of 87 Canadian researchers will examine almost every
aspect of the food we eat -- from its nutritional value to consumer attitudes.
They'll be led by Guelph's food science professor Dr. Rickey Yada.
The group has $22 million in federal money to spend.
November 5, 2003
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, introduces a bill in the U.S.
House of representatives that would require chains with 20 or more locations
to list calories, trans-fat, saturated fat and sodium next to each item
on menus or menu boards.
The Menu Education and Labeling Act is expected to be followed by a bill
to be introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat,
that will mirror the House bill, except it will also require nutrition
labels on the exterior of vending machines.
The FDA is considering a voluntary or mandatory program for restaurants
to disclose calorie counts on menu boards to help people make healthier
for information about the DeLauro bill and the proposed Harkin bill.
November 24, 2003
Ontario cookie manufacturer Voortman announces that it will become the
first Canadian cookie maker to drop trans fats from its products.
Harry Voortman said he dropped the trans fats after lobbying from his
daughter, Lynn, a naturopathic doctor. She became concerned about trans
fat a few years ago and stopped eating her father's cookies altogether.
February 3, 2004
Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat processor, announces that it plans
to eliminate trans fats from its fully cooked retail products. The company
also said trans fats will be eliminated from "child nutrition"
labeled school foodservice products.
Note: Tyson Foods announced in January 2005 that it has completed the process of removing trans fat from its fully cooked breaded poultry retail and "child nutrition" school foodservice products.
February 5, 2004
Canadian Member of Parliament Pat Martin has introduced a bill in the
House of Commons to ban trans fats.
He has started a petition, which we are asking all Canadians, Americans
and everyone else, to sign. Click here
to visit his website and sign the petition.
If Mr. Martin succeeds, the impact in Canada, the United States and worldwide
will be tremendous. He needs all the support he can get.
for further information.
February 13, 2004
US natural and organic food retailer Wild Oats Markets has announced
that it has removed all products containing partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats)
from the shelves of its 75 Wild Oats stores.
Wild Oats Markets operates 101 natural foods stores in the US and Canada,
under the Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Henry's Marketplace, Sun Harvest
and Capers Community Markets banners.
February 17, 2004
Campbell Soup Co., the owner of the Pepperidge Farm brand, announces that Goldfish crackers, one of America's most popular snacks, especially with kids, will become trans fat-free. Campbells says that the transition will involve reformulation of almost 165 individual products and will be largely complete by May 2004 and fully complete by September 2004.
According to the announcement, almost half of all U.S. households with children under 18 purchase Goldfish products annually, with more than 85 billion Goldfish crackers consumed each year. In fact, more than 3,000 Goldfish are produced by Pepperidge Farm bakeries every second.
That's a lot of trans fat!
Swimming to trans fat-freedom
The press release included the following quotation:
"Many of our Goldfish consumers -- especially parents -- told us they preferred snacks without trans fat, so we decided to convert our entire cracker line to zero-trans fat recipes.... The best part is, we achieved the change without any compromise to our traditional delicious Goldfish taste and texture. We are delighted to be the first -- and only -- major cracker brand to offer an entire line of great tasting crackers with zero trans fat."
Note: Campbells says that to lead off the transition to zero-trans fat it has introduced "Goldfish Crisps." The label says it contains zero grams of trans fat, but we noticed that the ingredients include a partially hydrogenated oil! Campbells is taking advantage of the FDA rule that "if the serving contains less than 0.5 gram, the content, when declared, shall be expressed as zero." There were nine servings in the packet that we picked up, so it could contain almost 4.5 grams of trans fat (0.5 x 9). Buyer beware!
February 24, 2004
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduces legislation in the U.S. Senate requiring
nutritional information to be displayed on chain restaurant menus and
The Menu Education And Labeling (“MEAL”) act would extend
the nutrition labeling requirements first instituted by the Nutrition
Labeling and Education Act of 1990 to food sold through restaurants and
The legislation would require restaurants operating with 20 or more locations
under the same trade name (regardless of ownership structure) to disclose
on menus: the number of calories; grams of saturated fat; grams
of trans fat; and milligrams of sodium.
For restaurants with only menu boards and for vending machines, the labeling
requirements would apply only to total calories, not to saturated fat,
trans fat, and sodium.
For foods served in cafeterias, salad bars, and other self-serve facilities,
retail food establishments would be required to place a sign on the line
that specifies the number of calories per standard serving.
The labeling requirements would apply only to standard menu items. Therefore,
daily specials, temporary menu items, and other irregular menu items will
not be affected by labeling requirements.
to read Senator Harkin's press release.
April 5, 2004
As of April 5, 2004, all Voortman cookies (of Canada) are being produced completely trans fats free. Check out www.voortman.com/zerotransfats.html.
April 6, 2004
Kraft announces that it has introduced trans fat-free Oreos. Here is
the Kraft Press Release:
Press Release Source: Kraft Foods Biscuit Division
Oreo Takes on a New Twist With
New Varieties That
Contain Zero Grams of Trans Fat Per Serving
Nabisco Reformulates Varieties of its Popular Cookie Well
Ahead of Food And Drug Administration's Labeling Mandate
EAST HANOVER, N.J., April 6, 2004 -- The Kraft Foods Biscuit Division
announced today the introduction of three new varieties of its popular
Oreo® cookie that will now contain zero grams of trans fat per serving.
The offerings include a New, Improved Reduced Fat Oreo, as well as new
Golden Oreo Original and Golden Uh Oh! Oreo, all with zero grams of trans
The new Oreo cookies are part of Kraft's ongoing commitment to provide
products that meet today's consumer concerns about trans fat and to address
the overall increased focus on health and wellness.
"We took great care in developing these Oreo cookies to ensure we
maintained the great taste and high quality consumers expect from Oreo,"
said Kevin McGahren-Clemens, vice president, cookies. "We've been
making Oreo for over ninety years, and these varieties are just another
great choice for people who love eating Oreo cookies."
The New, Improved Reduced Fat Oreo contains 30 percent less fat than
the regular Oreo, and a serving of 3 cookies contains 150 calories and
a total of 4.5 grams of fat, and zero grams of trans fat.
Golden Oreo Original and Golden Uh Oh! Oreo flip the conventional Oreo
around with white sandwich wafers instead of chocolate. The Golden Oreo
Original has the traditional white creme filling while Golden Uh Oh! Oreo
has a chocolate center. Both contain 170 calories and 7 grams of total
fat per 3 cookie serving, and zero grams of trans fat.
The three new Oreo varieties are the latest innovations for the brand,
which was first launched in 1912.
Kraft and Trans Fat Reformulation
Kraft is one of the first major food manufacturers to reformulate many
of its snack products in advance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
mandate to list trans fat content on Nutrition Facts labels by January
"Kraft has an aggressive plan in place to reduce or eliminate trans
fat levels in our cookie and cracker products by 2004-2005," said
McGahren- Clemens. "We know this is of interest to many of our customers
so we are taking these steps to meet their growing and changing needs."
In addition to Reduced Fat Oreo and the two Golden Oreo varieties, other
products in Kraft's biscuit line that contain zero grams of trans fat
per serving are: Honey Maid® Low Fat Cinnamon Grahams, Newtons®
Fat Free Fig Chewy Cookies, Triscuit®*, Whole Wheat Baked Crackers,
SnackWell's® Fat Free Devil's Food Cookie Cakes, and SnackWell's®
Cracked Pepper crackers.
Trans fat labeling already appears on some Kraft products, including
Reduced Fat Oreo, the two Golden Oreo varieties and Triscuit. Kraft is
adding trans fat information to product packaging on an ongoing basis
to meet the January 1, 2006 FDA deadline. Kraft also posts trans fat information
for products on an ongoing basis on www.kraftoods.com .
*Triscuit Cheddar does not currently meet the zero grams of trans fat
per serving standard.
April 27, 2004
J.M. Smucker Company, owner of the Crisco brand, announces that it has
introduced a shortening with zero grams of trans fat. The company says:
"New Zero Grams Trans Fat Shortening is made from a patented blend
of sunflower, soy, and cottonseed oils to create a high-performance shortening
with zero grams trans fat per serving."
"Crisco" has become synonymous with trans fat. Now that has
changed. As Crisco products are so easily available in stores nationwide,
consumers will now easily be able to find shortening without trans fat.
According to Kim Severson of the San Francisco Chronicle, the product
is made from fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Fully hydrogenating the
oil eliminates trans fats but makes a fat so hard that it is impossible
to cook with. To soften it up, the product is belnded with sunflower oil
and soybean oil.
for information on the Crisco website.
for the San Francisco Chronicle article about the new Crisco product.
May 18, 2004
The Center for Science
in the Public Interest ("CSPI") files a petition with the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban partially hydrogenated
CSPI, which is based in Washington, D.C., is the premier nutrition advocacy
organization in the world. Its Nutrition Action Healthletter has more
than 800,000 subscribers. CSPI's efforts resulted in the enactment of
the law in 1990 which requires Nutrition Facts labels on packaged products
sold in the United States.
to read the petition. CSPI has also launched a website dedicated to its
campaign to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils. www.transfreeamerica.org.
In its petition CSPI cites our lawsuit against Kraft regarding Oreo cookies.
The petition is supported by 28 of the top scientists in the country.
to read the supporting letter sent to the FDA by these scientists.
CSPI's petition is now the focal point for bringing about the necessary
regulatory change at the FDA. The FDA must do its job and outlaw this
lethal ingredient as soon as possible. The FDA must put the health of
consumers ahead of the commercial interests of the food industry.
We at BanTransFats.com applaud CSPI's superb initiative and will support
it in every way possible.
July 8, 2004
A class action lawsuit is filed in federal court against McDonald's for false advertising regarding the announced change to a cooking oil with reduced trans fat, based on the same core facts as the lawsuit that was filed by BanTransFats.com in October 2003. BanTransFats.com is not a party in the class action. The class action is later refiled in state court. Money damages (including restitution and disgorgement) are claimed in the class action.
July 22, 2004
The Center for Science
in the Public Interest ("CSPI") files a petition with the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require restaurants to indicate
that the food they serve contains trans fat from partially hydrogenated
Click here to read
October 1, 2004
Tiburon, California today became America's First Trans Fat-Free City.
Click here for more information.
November 18 and 23, 2004
Big news from Canada. On November 18, 2004, the New Democratic Party (NDP) introduced a bill in the Canadian Parliament which would effectively ban trans fats. The bill was debated in Parliament for most of the day on November 18, 2004. Click here to read the bill.
On the same day, as a direct result of the NDP's initiative, the Canadian Government health ministry, Health Canada, announced the formation of a task force to "develop recommendations and strategies for reducing trans fats in Canadian foods to the lowest levels possible." Click here to read the government announcement.
Fulfilling a commitment made to all parties in the House of Commons, Minister of State for Public Health Carolyn Bennett said: "Clearly, heart disease is a major chronic disease in Canada, so we must address its causes and tackle all the relevant determinants.... Our thoughtful action on the trans fat issue is part of a much broader, complex strategy to foster health through healthy living. Our aim is to promote good health by reducing the risk factors."
The task force will build upon findings of a consultation process with scientists and industry already underway by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. It will explore healthy alternatives to fats and oils high in trans fats, examine available regulatory options, and consider ways to educate the public about the dangers of trans fats.
The Health Canada announcement states:
Recommendations regarding public education, labeling and any possible immediate opportunities for the food service and food processing industry to reduce trans fats are expected by Spring 2005. Within one year of this announcement, the task force will provide the Minister of State for Public Health with recommendations for both an appropriate regulatory framework and for the introduction and widespread use of healthy alternatives to achieve the objective of limiting trans fat content in foods sold in Canada to the lowest levels possible.
On November 23, 2004, the House of Commons by 193 to 73 passed a motion calling for the task force (which Health Canada in anticipation of the motion had announced five days earlier), followed by regulations or a law to limit trans-fat content in all food products.
Click here to read the motion and to see how each M.P. voted.
It is very encouraging that the Conservative Party is supportive.
The NDP's initiative originated with the work of Pat Martin, M.P., the primary anti-trans fat advocate in Canada. NDP leader, Jack Layton, M.P. introduced the motion in the House of Commons and has taken this issue forward with Pat Martin.
Canadian MP Pat Martin,
dedicated anti-trans fat campaigner
Incidentally, we have provided information and support to Pat Martin and his excellent staff and will continue to do so.
For those of us in the United States, what happens in Canada is of crucial importance for two reasons:
First, if Canada bans trans fats, consumers in the United States will expect and demand a similar ban. If a Canadian ban embarrasses the United States into taking real action on trans fats, so be it.
Second, products made in the United States and shipped to retailers in the United States and Canada cannot economically be made in two versions - one with trans fat and the other without. That would make no sense at all. It would be easier to make a single version without trans fat in order not to forfeit sales in the Canadian market.
Well done and congratulations NDP and Pat Martin!
Click here to see video news reports about the Canadian initiative.
January 12, 2005
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issue the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. The Guidelines include the following recommendation:
Consume 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids and less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol, and keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible.
The Guidelines also contain the following strong message to the food industry:
Because trans fatty acids produced in the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils account for more than 80 percent of total intake, the food industry has an important role in decreasing trans fatty acid content of the food supply.
Tommy Thompson, the Secretary of HHS, said at a news conference on the Guidelines that the FDA may recommend that daily intake of trans fat be less than 2 grams, perhaps less than 1 gram. Click here to read the transcript of the news conference. In effect, that would mean totally avoiding any food containing partially hydrogenated oils.
February 9, 2005
The Superior Court of California for Marin County preliminarily approves settlement of the McDonald's cases. See Press Release.
February 9, 2005
Canada’s largest restaurant chains launch a new program that will make it easier for consumers to obtain detailed nutrition information about various menu items. The voluntary program, developed by leading restaurant companies and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), will provide consumers with the "calorie, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate and protein content of standard menu items," including trans fat.
By the end of 2005, participating restaurants across Canada will provide the information in brochures at each of their locations, and place a notice on menu boards or menus to let consumers know the information is available on the premises. The information will also be posted on restaurant websites.
A total of 24 restaurant chains have so far signed on to the voluntary program. The founding companies, which are at various stages of complying with the guidelines, are:
A & W Food Services of Canada Inc., Burger King Restaurants of Canada Inc., Casey's Bar & Grill, De Dutch Pannekoek House Restaurants Inc., East Side Mario's Restaurants, Fionn MacCool's, Harvey's, IKEA Canada, Jack Astor's Bar & Grill, Kelsey's Restaurants, KFC, Little Caesar of Canada Inc., Les Rotisseries St-Hubert Ltee., McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited, Pizza Hut, Pizza Nova, Pizza Pizza Limited, Shoeless Joe's Restaurants, Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, Taco Bell, Tim Hortons, Van Houtte Inc., Wendy's Restaurants of Canada Inc., and White Spot Restaurants.
Click here for more information.
April 1, 2005
After five years of painstaking work, Jason's Deli announces that it has eliminated partially hydrogenated oils from every food item at all of its 137 restaurants nationwide and all 1.6 million box lunches provided to schools annually. We believe that this is the largest successful anti-trans fat project to date by any restaurant chain in the United States.
Click here for information.
August 24, 2005
The Superior Court of California for Marin County finally approves settlement of the McDonald's cases. See Press Release.
October 10, 2005
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) asks city restaurateurs and food suppliers to voluntarily eliminate partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from the kitchen.
DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said, "New York City’s restaurants are the best in the world but they can be even healthier. Trans fat is artificially added to the foods we eat and is easily removed. To help combat heart disease, the number one killer in New York City, we are asking restaurants to voluntarily make an oil change and remove artificial trans fat from their kitchens. We are also urging food suppliers to provide products that are trans fat free."
E. Charles Hunt, Executive Vice President of the New York State Restaurant Association, said, "New York City is world renowned for our culinary diversity. Working together to reduce trans fat from our kitchens will be one more way to ensure an enjoyable and healthy experience for the City’s 8 million residents and the millions more who visit every year."
According to the DOHMH, preliminary results from a sample of New York City restaurants found that 30% of restaurants used oils or fats known to contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil for cooking or frying, or in spreads, such as margarine. As part of its educational push beginning this month, the DOHMH is sending out letters and an information bulletin to more than 20,000 restaurants and 14,000 supermarkets and food suppliers to alert them to the dangers of trans fat, how to identify it, and how to replace trans fat with healthier options in the kitchen.
There are indications that the number of restaurants using partially hydrogenated oil for cooking or frying may be as high as 60%.
Good luck New York!
New York City Press Release
New York City PDF file: "What every restaurant and food service establishment needs to know about trans fat"
The Center for Science in the Public Interest ("CSPI"), which is based in Washington, D.C., is the one of the world's premier nutrition advocacy organizations. Its Nutrition Action Healthletter has more than 800,000 subscribers. CSPI's efforts resulted in the enactment of the law in 1990 which requires Nutrition Facts labels on packaged products sold in the United States.
BanTransFats.com, Inc. has a working relationship with CSPI as a co-campaigner on the trans fat issue.
CSPI announced in November 2005 that it had completed a survey of trans fat usage in the United States. Its survey included 38 major food manufacturers, 100 restaurant chains, and 25 supermarket chains.
The survey shows that while many of America's biggest food manufacturers and supermarket chains are busily replacing trans fats with more healthful substitutes, the biggest restaurant chains are still frying in trans fat-laden, heart attack-inducing, partially hydrogenated oils. Trans fat labeling on packaged foods becomes mandatory on January 1, 2006. That looming deadline has been a powerful incentive for supermarkets and food manufacturers to switch to healthier oils, but CSPI found that the lack of any nutrition labeling or disclosure requirements for restaurant chains has caused them to lag far behind. While several major restaurant chains told CSPI they are testing healthier oils, only a few chains have already taken action.
This is excellent and valuable work by CSPI.
Click here for the CSPI press release. Click here for the survey.
(A survey by the consumer research group Mintel International shows that in 2003, only 10 new products introduced in the United States claimed low or no trans fats. By 2004, that number jumped to 369. In 2005, it had nearly doubled, to 632.)
December 5, 2005
We receive a lot of email about Girl Scout cookies. A lot of people, especially parents, are very upset that many of the products contain trans fats. An article in Knight Ridder Newspapers published on December 5, 2005 indicates that changes are in the pipeline. Here is the relevant part of the story:
Customers will want to know as Girl Scouts around the nation start their annual cookie drive between now and early next year with new, healthier treats: cookies with zero trans fat.
* * * * *
The Scouts have taken the villainous substance out of three of their most popular cookies: Thin Mints, Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties. Two new cookies, the fudge-covered Thanks-A-Lot and reduced-fat Cartwheels, don't have trans fat, either.
Kansas City Scouts, among the first in the country to take orders for the new cookies, are eager to roll them out. The cookies will be delivered in early January.
"The fact that five of them are trans fat-free is big news to them," says Martha Singleton, marketing communications manager for the Girl Scouts of Mid-Continent Council. By next year's drive all Girl Scout cookies will be free of the fat that scientists now tell us is more harmful to our hearts than saturated fat.
"I think it's going to be great," says Dianne Brungardt, leader of two Scout troops in Independence, Mo. "I think our sales will go up because of it.
* * * * *
"I think there are some folks out there who want to vilify everyone who uses trans fat," says Sherry Sybesma, senior vice president of sales and marketing for ABC Cookie Baker, the oldest licensed maker of Girl Scout cookies. "The truth is that for a long time we thought we were doing the right thing." The Virginia company makes eight varieties of Scout cookies and many other products for some of the country's largest food retailers and manufacturers.
Responding to the new trans fat science, ABC began researching and developing new trans fat-free products several years ago and added trans-fat content info on its products last year.
For the Girl Scouts, the bakery knew it would be challenged to come up with trans fat-free recipes for new cookies that taste as good as the old. It can be done. You probably haven't even noticed that your Cheetos and Lay's potato chips don't have trans fat anymore because they taste the same.
December 20, 2005
We sued Kraft in May 2003 to ban the marketing and sale of trans fat-laden Oreos to children, and to prevent Kraft from continuing to distribute Oreos to young kids in schools. As a result of the lawsuit, Kraft agreed to remove partially hydrogenated oil from the Oreo. Two months later, Kraft said that it would reduce or eliminate trans fat in all its cookies and crackers across the board. Kraft also agreed to stop all in-school marketing.
Today Kraft issued the following press release:
NORTHFIELD, IL, December 20, 2005 - Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT), a global leader in branded foods and beverages, announced today that it has successfully completed its multi-year, voluntary trans fat reduction efforts in the U.S. In addition, the company said that it will meet the January 1, 2006 U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) deadline for on-pack trans fat labeling. The new FDA rule does not require companies to reduce trans fat content. Kraft took the added steps of reducing or removing trans fat from its products, while making sure they retain their great taste. With nearly every reformulated product, not only did the company reduce trans fat content, but it also ensured that the combination of saturated fat plus trans fat did not increase compared to the original formulation.
With more than 100,000 people-hours invested by Kraft’s research and development teams alone, the extensive and complex project resulted in the reformulation of a significant number of Kraft’s U.S. products.
"As part of Kraft’s broader health and wellness initiatives, we’re continually working on ways to enhance the nutritional profiles of our products," noted Lance Friedmann, Senior Vice President, Global Health & Wellness and New Category Development. "With trans fat reformulation efforts, we’ve responded to consumers’ concerns, while also delivering on their quality and taste expectations. A great example of having met this goal is our Triscuit cracker line; we’ve seen double-digit growth on Triscuit sales since its reformulation."
The broad, multi-disciplinary effort involved Kraft’s Global Technology & Quality, Operations and Marketing teams.
"Reformulating a single product can be challenging on its own," said Jean Spence, Executive Vice President, Global Technology & Quality. "With this initiative, we were reformulating across our entire U.S. portfolio, with roughly 650 products needing new formulas or manufacturing solutions, or both. In some cases, we even had to develop proprietary blends of oils to help meet our goal of ensuring that the combined level of saturated fat plus trans fat did not increase as a result of the reformulation."
As a result, seven Kraft categories undertook significant reformulation efforts across their product lines, including: Cereal, Cookies, Crackers, Pizza, Desserts, Meals, and Oscar Mayer. Brands such as Kraft Easy Mac, DiGiorno Thin Crispy Crust Pizza, original Oreo cookies, Wheat Thins crackers, and Jell-O Pudding Snacks will now be labeled as containing 0g trans fat per serving.
With the completion of the reformulation efforts, fewer than 2.5% of the products in Kraft’s portfolio covered by the FDA rule will be required to bear labels declaring the presence of trans fat. These include products where trans fat is naturally occurring, such as cheeses, products containing meats or cheeses (e.g. pizza, lunch combinations), and products where reformulation efforts would have negatively altered the taste and quality of the product.
Kraft’s approach to trans fat reformulation is global, with significant efforts under way in markets around the world.
So how do the new trans fat-free Oreos taste? Here's an extract from an article in the Washington Post:
The defending champion: Oreos with trans fats. The challenger: new Oreos without trans fats.
Our tasters found virtually no difference between the two. They praised the original for its good balance between the cream filling and the cookie, its attractive smell and its familiar taste. Trying the new trans-fat-free version, they sensed only slight differences – a hint more salt and a slightly greater emphasis on the cream – but found the cookies equal in sweetness, with similar mouth-feel to the filling.
"I think you could pass both of them off as the same," said pastry chef Steve Klc of Zaytinya in Washington.
Before the trans-fat rule, the amount of trans fat in a processed food could be the entire amount of unidentified fat – in this case, 5.5 grams. According to the FDA rule that took effect Jan. 1, food manufacturers now may claim "zero trans fats" on a nutritional label as long as there is no more than 0.5 gram of fat in the serving size.
Oreos with trans fats: Serving size is three cookies, 160 calories, 7 total fat grams (1.5 grams saturated fat, 5.5 grams of unidentified fat.)
New Oreos without trans fats: Serving size is three cookies, 160 calories, 7 total fat grams (2 grams saturated fat, 1 gram polyunsaturated fat, 3 grams monounsaturated fat, 1 gram unidentified fat).
January 1, 2006
Starting today, January 1, 2006, all packaged foods that enter interstate commerce in the United States must list trans fat content on their Nutrition Facts labels. Here is an example of the new label.
There are two major problems with the new label:
1. Under FDA regulations, "if the serving contains less than 0.5 gram [of trans fat], the content, when declared, shall be expressed as zero."
Suppose you eat one serving of Product A, one serving of Product B, and one serving of Product C. Let's assume that each product contains 0.4 grams per serving. You have just consumed 1.2 grams of trans fat, despite the fact that each of the labels claims that the products contain zero grams of trans fat per serving! Click here for an article about the less than 0.5 gram rule.
So be sure to check the ingredients list. If the words "partially hydrogenated" appear in the ingredients, the product contains trans fat. Also note that if the word "shortening" in the ingredient, the product probably contains partially hydrogenated oil which means that it contains trans fat.
2. Note that there is no percentage for trans fat in the "% Daily Value" column. There is just a blank space. The FDA had previously proposed to put an asterisk in the % Daily Value column with a note that "intake of trans fats should be as low as possible." However, in response to food industry pressure, the warning has been dropped. You should act as if the advisory is on the label. Eat as little trans fat as possible.
Note: The new label must appear on all packaged products that enter interstate commerce on or after January 1, 2006. Products that enter interstate commerce prior to that date can bear the old labels. Therefore, you may still see old labels on store shelves after January 1, 2006.
Note: Regrettably, the FDA may extend the time for some companies to comply with the new labeling requirement by as much as 12 months. Certain food lobbyists persuaded the FDA to permit such extensions in certain cases so that companies can use up their existing food labels. These companies have known about the new labeling rule since July 2003. They were given two and a half years from July 2003 to January 2006 to use up their existing labels! But now they claim they need even more time to use up the old labels. Frankly, the FDA caved and we are disappointed. Click here and here for articles on the subject.
June 8, 2006
Wendy's announces that it is switching to a new cooking oil and significantly cutting trans fats. According to the press release, Wendy's 6,300 U.S. and Canadian restaurants are scheduled to switch to the new blend of corn and soy oil beginning in August 2006.
Click here to read the Wendy's press release.
June 12, 2006
MSNBC reports that the Cheesecake Factory is making changes. The report states:
Another health-conscious change being tested in [the Cheesecake Factory's] Los Angeles restaurants: Completely trans fat free food menus. Okura and his team went through 20 different trans fat free products in order to find one that maintained good flavor, and with the clock ticking toward today one last menu item was giving him trouble: The sweet corn tamales.
In a blind taste test, Okura sampled three versions of the dish: One with a trans fat free product, followed by the current version, which has trans fats. And finally he tasted one with butter that ironically does not have trans fats.
Butter won out in the end, even though it’s more expensive. What’s the difference? It’s creamier explains Okura.
The trans fat experiment, if it works, will be rolled out nationwide in two months. But some things at Cheesecake Factory won’t be changing — the cheesecakes. After all, you don’t mess with success. But you can tinker with everything else.
Click here for the MSNBC video.
June 13, 2006
On June 13, 2006, a Maryland doctor sued Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). Click here for the news release.
The plaintiff is requesting that KFC be required to notify customers that it is using lethal partially hydrogenated oil for frying. BanTransFats.com supports the lawsuit wholeheartedly.
The U.S. Chamber [of Commerce] Institute for Legal Reform (CILR) has criticized the lawsuit stating as follows:
"The class action lawsuit filed today by the Center for Science in the Public Interest against KFC is a troubling example of a narrow interest group and their self-serving trial lawyer allies using a 'regulation through litigation' strategy, rather than making their case where it belongs -- the public policy arena.
"At their core, these suits doing little to advance the public interest. Common sense and personal responsibility should be the foundation of our society and reflected in our legal system. But sadly, these virtues are increasingly ignored as predatory lawsuits targeting deep-pocket industries become the norm.
"CSPI's lawsuit perpetuates a dangerous climate that only invites more frivolous legal speculation and illustrates the need for major reform. Their outrageous attempt to dictate through class action litigation what type of cooking oil KFC uses exemplifies what's wrong with our legal system.
"We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives which recently passed the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act (H.R. 554), and we urge the Senate to pass the Commonsense Consumption Act (S. 908) quickly to prevent even more irresponsible food consumption-related lawsuits."
Click here for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform news release.
The criticism by CILR is a case of crass hypocricy. It is CILR, not CSPI, that is a "narrow interest group." CILR represents narrow business interests. CSPI promotes good nutrition and public health, which no one could reasonably describe as a "narrow interest."
(CSPI's legal counsel is co-counsel for the plaintiff. CSPI is not a plaintiff.)
The food industry owns and controls the "public policy arena," as CILR knows. The food industry has purchased the "public policy arena" using cash in the form of campaign contributions.
The bill passed by the House of Representatives (H.R. 554), which is referred to in the CILR news release, was introduced by Rep. Ric Keller (R - Fl). Keller's reelection campaign received $10,500 from Darden Restaurants' PAC. Darden Restaurants owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden. The National Restaurant Association gave $6,000 to his campaign. The Outback Steakhouse PAC gave his campaign $10,000. Wendy's PAC gave $5,000 to his campaign. For a full list of the major contributor's to Keller's campaign, click here.
Why didn't the CILR mention any of this in its news release?
The food industry owns Rep. Keller and the "public policy arena."
The food industry does not own the courts - yet.
Click here for a video news story about the lawsuit including an interview with Stephen Joseph, President and CEO of BanTransFats.com.
Click here for a copy of the Complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court.
June 19, 2006
American Heart Association (AHA) issues its "2006 Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations." The recommendations contain a balanced approach for maintaining a health diet. The full recommendations are well worth reading as they represent the "state-of-the-art" on nutrition.
On the subject of trans fat, the AHA recommends that you miminize intake of partially hydrogenated oils and asks the food industry (including restaurants) to replace partially hydrogenated oils with low saturated fat alternatives.
Click here to read the full AHA recommendations and analysis.
Click here for the AHA website page summarizing the recommendations.
Click here for the AHA news release.
Similarly, the U.S. Government's recommendation in its Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 is "keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible."
June 28, 2006
In November 2004, the New Democratic Party (NDP) introduced a bill in the Canadian Parliament that would effectively ban trans fats. Click here to read the bill. In response to this initiative, the House of Commons by 193 to 73 passed a motion calling for the establishment of the task force, followed by regulations or a law to limit trans-fat content in all food products. Click here to read the motion and to see how each M.P. voted.
As a direct result of the NDP's initiative, the Canadian Government health ministry, Health Canada, announced the formation of a task force to "develop recommendations and strategies for reducing trans fats in Canadian foods to the lowest levels possible."
The NDP's initiative originated with the work of Pat Martin, M.P. NDP leader, Jack Layton, M.P. introduced the motion in the House of Commons and moved the issue forward with Pat Martin. Incidentally, BanTransFats.com provided information and support to Pat Martin. He learned about trans fat from our campaign!
On June 28, 2006, the Task Force issued its final recommendations. The Task Force recommended:
For all vegetable oils and soft, spreadable (tub-type) margarines sold to consumers or for use as an ingredient in the preparation of foods on site by retailers or food service establishments, the total trans fat content be limited by regulation to 2% of total fat content.
For all other foods purchased by a retail or food service establishment for sale to consumers or for use as an ingredient in the preparation of foods on site, the total trans fat content be limited by regulation to 5% of total fat content. This limit does not apply to food products for which the fat originates exclusively from ruminant meat or dairy products.
Regulations be finalized by June 2008.
A basic phase-in period be set at one year from the date of entry into force of the final regulations.
Extended phase-in periods be specified for certain applications (e.g. baking) and for small and medium-sized firms, recognizing that in most cases the transition could be made within two years of the date of entry into force of the final regulations.
Click here for a copy of the final report. Click here for the Trans Fat Task Force's webpage.
The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) is publicly supporting the recommendations. Click here for the CRFA statement and information page. Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) also stated that it apporoved of the recommendations. Click here for the FCPC media release.
Let us hope that the food industry does not stand in the way of implementation of the recommendations. Actions speak louder than words.
Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke proposes an ordinance that would ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils for cooking in Chicago restaurants. Following a hearing, he is now only targeting restaurant chains with at least $20 million in annual gross sales, including the major fast food establishments. Alderman Burke has asked them to act voluntarily in taking trans fats off their menus before seeking passage of legislation that would require them to do so.
Another trans fat-free zone has been formed in Westchester County where 125 restaurants have agreed not to use partially hydrogenated oil. Click here for information.
August 2, 2006
Three big British supermarket chains, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda, announce that they will eliminate partially hydrogenated oils from the own-brand products by the end of 2006. Marks & Spencer has already stopped using partially hydrogenated oil in its food production. Waitrose has been removing partially hydrogenated oils from its foods since the beginning of 2004.
BanTransFats.com strongly encourages supermarkets in the United States and Canada to follow the British example. Surely American and Canadian consumers are entitled to the same health consideration as their British counterparts.
Click here and here for articles about the British announcement.
(Not all is perfect in Britain. Unlike the United States and Canada, Britain does not have trans fat labeling. Scientists at Oxford University have written a strong article in the British Medical Journal supporting the introduction of trans fat labeling in Britain. Britain should introduce such labeling as soon as possible. Click here for a report about the BMJ article.)
August 24, 2006
Wendy's announces that it has completed the switch to a new cooking oil that significantly cuts trans fats. All of Wendy's 6,300 U.S. and Canadian restaurants are now using the new blend of corn and soybean oil.
Click here for the press release.
September 6, 2006
In July 2006, Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke proposed an ordinance that would ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils for cooking in Chicago restaurants. Following a hearing in July 2006, he said that he would only target restaurant chains with at least $20 million in annual gross sales, including the major fast food establishments. Alderman Burke has asked them to act voluntarily in taking trans fats off their menus before seeking passage of legislation that would require them to do so.
Another hearing was held on September 6, 2006. At the hearing, a consultant retained by the Illinois Restaurant Association sought to minimize the health risks posed by oils containing trans fat. He admitted that there was no question that the consensus of scientific opinion is that trans fat increases levels of bad cholesterol. However, he said it was "murky" how much of an effect that increase had on coronary heart disease and how much it raised the risk of death from the disease. "The question is how much impact does that have on development of coronary heart disease," he said. "And how big of a risk factor is trans fatty acids relative to the other risk factors that most people have" such as obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, and drinking alcohol.
The consultant retained by the Illinois Restaurant Association was trying to muddy the waters. There is nothing "murky" about the association between bad cholesterol and heart disease.
Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Mason is consulting with New York City regarding its voluntary compliance program. Mason will report back to the Chicago City Council on his findings and give the Council an update on talks with the restaurant industry.
September 26, 2006
The New York City Health Department proposes for public comment two separate initiatives that will affect New York City restaurants.
The first initiative is a partial phase-out of artificial trans fat in all New York City restaurants. This proposal allows restaurants six months to switch to oils, margarines and shortening that have less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. After 18 months, all other food items would need to contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. Packaged food items still in the manufacturer’s original packaging when served would be exempt.
Dr. Walter Willett, Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, said, "If New Yorkers replace all sources of artificial trans fat, by even the most conservative estimates, at least 500 deaths from heart disease would be prevented each year in New York City – more than the number of people killed annually in motor vehicle crashes. Based on long-term studies, the number of preventable deaths may be many times higher. Trans fat from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is a toxic substance that does not belong in food."
Switching to trans fat-free frying oils does not increase costs. The trans fat-free frying oils available today taste just as good and have fry lives just as long as partially hydrogenated oils. There is no justification for continuing to use partially hydrogenated oils. Period. If you are a restaurant owner or manager and you need information about obtaining trans fat-free oils, contact us.
Why not encourage restaurants to switch to trans fat-free products volunatarily? In fact, New York City has had a voluntary program since August 2005, based on educating restaurant owners and managers about the problem. However, the results have not been positive. The City states in its press release:
The Health Department conducted a year-long education campaign to help restaurants voluntarily reduce trans fat. Information was provided to every restaurant in New York City and training was provided to help restaurants and food suppliers make the change. Restaurants were surveyed before and after the campaign. While some restaurants reduced or stopped using artificial trans fat, overall use did not decline at all. In restaurants where it could be determined whether trans fat was used, half used it in oils or spreads both before and after the year-long campaign. A year after this voluntary effort, New Yorkers are still being exposed to high levels of dangerous trans fat.
The second initiative would require restaurants that already make calorie content publicly available on or after March 1, 2007 to also post it on their menus and menu boards.
There will be a public hearing on the initiatives on October 30, 2006.
Click here for the New York City Health Department media release.
Click here to read the New York City trans fat proposal, including instructions on how to comment on the proposal.
October 16, 2006
The Walt Disney Company introduces new food guidelines aimed at giving parents and children healthier eating options. The guidelines for licensed foods and promotions aimed at children will govern Disney's business partnerships and activities in the U.S. on a going-forward basis and will be adapted internationally over the next several years.
The new policies call for Disney to use its name and characters only on kid-focused products that meet specific guidelines, including limits on calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar. Disney also announced nutritionally-beneficial changes in the meals served to children at all Disney-operated restaurants in its parks and resorts and unveiled a company-wide plan to eliminate added trans fats from food served at its parks by the end of 2007 and from its licensed and promotional products by the end of 2008.
Added trans fats are in the process of being removed from all Disney food offerings. Food served at the U.S. Disney parks and resorts will be free of added trans fats by the end of 2007. Disney's U.S. licensing and promotional groups are aiming to meet an end-2008 deadline.
Click here for the Disney media release.
October 24, 2006
The Australian government announces the establishment of a National Collaboration on Trans Fats aimed at reducing the presence in trans fat food sold in Australia.
Click here for an article.
October 30, 2006
The New York City Board of health holds a public hearing on its proposal to ban trans fats. Stephen Joseph, the CEO of BanTransFats.com, testifies at the hearing.
October 30, 2006
KFC announces that it is converting all of its 5,500 restaurants in the United States to a "zero grams" trans fat cooking oil. The new oil, a low linolenic soybean oil, will replace the partially hydrogenated soybean oil in current use in KFC restaurants. The conversion, which follows over two years of extensive testing of oil options to identify the same taste profile, has already begun in many KFC restaurants and is scheduled to be completed by the end of April 2007 nationwide.
Once the transition is complete, KFC's most popular signature products, including Original Recipe and Extra Crispy chicken, will contain "zero grams" of trans fat. Other products that will have "zero grams" of trans fat are: Crispy Strips, Wings, Boneless Wings, Honey BBQ, Buffalo and Crispy Snacker Sandwiches, Popcorn Chicken, Twisters and Potato Wedges. Many KFC menu items today already contain "zero grams" of trans fat, including: all Tender Roast Products, Honey BBQ Sandwich, Honey BBQ Snacker, and many side dishes such as Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Corn on the Cob and Coleslaw.
There is still one item that will not have zero grams of trans fat, at least not yet. That item is biscuits. They are still working on it.
The huge levels of saturated fat, salt and calories in KFC's products are very bad for heart health and weight and definitely not recommended. But taking out the trans fat is a great move and we applaud it wholeheartedly.
Well done KFC!
Click here for the KFC media release.
October 30, 2006
Popeye's and Burger King announce trans fat initiatives.
Click here for the news report about Popeye's.
Click here for news report about Burger King.
October 30, 2006
McDonald's Australia has started cooking with oil that is virtually free of artery-clogging trans fatty acids, the company says. A spokesman for the company said the new oil, a blend of canola and high oleic sunflower oil was now being used in all 740 restaurants across the country. He said the new oil was not hardened or partially hydrogenated and was high in monounsaturated fat or good fat, which helped maintain good health. The change would remove more than 415 tonnes of trans fat from the Australian food supply, he said.
Click here for a news report.
November 2, 2006
In August 2006, Wendy's announced that it had completed the switch to a new cooking oil that significantly cuts trans fats. All of Wendy's 6,300 U.S. and Canadian restaurants are now using the new blend of corn and soybean oil. However, there is a problem. Click here to read the Wendy's press release about the change.
On November 2, 2006, Consumer Reports published the following findings:
In August fast-food chain Wendy's announced that it had switched to a healthier, nonhydrogenated cooking oil and had rid its french fries of nearly all trans fats. The change, according to the company, meant that the kid-sized fries and breaded chicken sold at all of Wendy's 6,000 U.S. restaurants had no unhealthy trans fats, while small, medium, and large french fries, once loaded with 5 to 7 grams of trans fats, now had just 0.5 grams.
Consumer Reports purchased large servings of fries from three Wendy's restaurants in Westchester County, N.Y., in early September. We sent the fries to an independent lab for fatty-acid analysis. We were surprised to find that the lab tests showed the fries contained significantly more trans fat than the 0.5 grams per serving claimed by Wendy's. To double-check the findings, we purchased fries from the same restaurants at the end of September and sent them to the same lab plus another independent lab for a second set of analyses, which confirmed our initial findings. The average amount of trans fat per serving was 2.5 grams.
When asked about the findings, Wendy's representatives said the company had rigorously tested and analyzed the fat content of its fries working with an independent lab. But our tests, based on the same method that Wendy's told us it used, throw doubt on the company's claims. The good news for Wendy's lovers is that the large fries we tested contained significantly less trans fat than the 7 grams they had before the announced cooking-oil change. And Wendy's large fries contain less than half as much trans fat as large fries from Burger King or McDonald's, which each had about 6 grams of trans fat in our tests. Wendy's fries also had a better overall fat profile, with slightly less saturated fat than Burger King's or McDonald's.
Click here to read the full article.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a Wendy's spokesman said its measurements are more reliable because its "far more extensive" testing was of samples from 12 french-fry suppliers, done by an independent lab and a cooking-oil supplier. The spokesman said Wendy's plans to test fries from all its Westchester restaurants to explain the discrepancy.
Here is BanTransFats.com's guess.
We believe that Wendy's fries are par-fried in partially hydrogenated oil in a factory before they reach the restaurant. The ingredients still include partially hydrogenated soybean oil or partially hydrogenated canola oil. Click here for the list of ingredients.
Wendy’s, like all other restaurants, uses the same finish oil in the restaurants for hundreds of batches. A restaurant may fry about 100, 200 or even 300 batches of French fries in the same oil.
When you fry French fries that contain partially hydrogenated par-fry oil, a bit of that oil passes into the finish oil. Thus, as hundred of batches of French fries are fried in the same finish oil, there will be a substantial build-up of partially hydrogenated oil in the finish oil. By the time you get to the 100th batch, there is quite a lot of partially hydrogenated oil in the finish oil. The solution is not to use French fries that are par-fried in partially hydrogenated oil, or to change the finish oil more frequently.
Perhaps Wendy’s did their trans fat measurement on a first batch fried in the new oil, or at least an early batch, not the 100th or later batch.
Clearly Wendy's has a problem that it must solve fast. It must make a full public disclosure about the problem and stop using French fries that are par-fried in partially hydrogenated oil as soon as possible.
November 6, 2006
American airline, Jet Blue, announces that its on-board snacks are now trans-fat free.
Click here for information.
November 6, 2006
Here is a Washington Post editorial published today.
Ban Trans Fats
Pass the polyunsaturated oil.
Monday, November 6, 2006
WE LIKE french fries, doughnuts and pie as much as the next editorial board. That's why we hope that the New York City Health Department's push to ban trans fatty acids from the city's foods succeeds -- and inspires the federal Food and Drug Administration to catch up.
Last week New York health officials held a public hearing on a proposal to cap what are commonly called trans fats at 0.5 gram per serving in the Big Apple's 20,000 or so restaurants. The evidence that doctors and public health experts presented makes you think twice about picking up a Whopper: Trans fats, which are chemically engineered, decrease levels of desirable cholesterol while increasing harmful cholesterol; they increase dangerous inflammation that can contribute to the onset of diabetes; and they harden artery walls, which increases blood pressure. Trans fats are much worse than even naturally occurring -- and still very unhealthy -- saturated fats such as those found in butter. Dariush Mozaffarian, a Harvard cardiologist and epidemiologist, calculated that up to 22 percent of heart attacks in the United States are the result of trans fat consumption.
Cue an assortment of critics -- many representing the restaurant industry -- who variously claim that such a measure would hurt mom-and-pop diners, reduce consumers' freedom to eat what they want or diminish the tastiness of McDonald's fries. We would sympathize with the opponents of the trans fat ban if it weren't so easy and inexpensive to use other, less harmful products without significantly altering the taste of the food. Kraft recently eliminated trans fats from its Oreo cookies. Could you tell? Similarly, Wendy's tested its new frying oil in 370 franchises, and customers didn't notice the difference. Denmark imposed a national ban on trans fats with which even McDonald's has complied.
Since trans fats aren't irreplaceable, objections for the sake of consumer freedom are also unconvincing. As with lead added to paint, trans fats are unnecessary additives to consumer products that can cause significant harm -- and many Americans don't even know they are in the restaurant food they are eating.
Currently, the FDA considers all uses of trans fats to be "generally regarded as safe," a designation that allows food producers to use trans fats liberally. According to the FDA, however, "safe" means "a reasonable certainty in the minds of competent scientists that the substance is not harmful under its intended conditions of use" -- a criterion that trans fats no longer satisfy. Federal regulators should promptly move to revoke the "generally regarded as safe" status for most -- if not all -- uses of trans fats, which would effectively eliminate trans fats from American food. Leaving local jurisdictions to regulate trans fats, on the other hand, is an unnecessarily arduous way to stop their use.
November 8, 2006
McDonald's said its European restaurants will begin using cooking oils that cut trans-fat levels to no more than 2% of the total.
The changeover at some 6,300 restaurants, expected to be completed by mid-2008, involves switching to canola and/or sunflower oils higher in oleic acid than current frying substances.
McDonald's European president Denis Hennequin said his operation had been working with suppliers for years to improve the nutritional values of its cooking oils.
The rollout of the new oil will be gradual, depending on availability of the product, the company said. Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland are to be the first countries to get it.
Suppliers are being asked not to use genetically modified products or ingredients, the company said.
McDonald's said the McDonald's Europe's announcement was the result of a plan based on specific European crops and their availability over the next 24 months.
Click here for an article.
November 16, 2006
Taco Bell announces that it will convert all of its more than 4,200 single brand US restaurants to a new zero grams trans fat canola oil for frying from a partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Taco Bell says that the transition is already complete in more than 100 restaurants. All Taco Bell restaurants are expected to be transitioned to the zero grams trans fat frying oil by April 2007 nationwide.
Click here for the media release.
December 5, 2006
The New York City Health Department approves a regulation banning trans fats, with some changes. (See September 26 and October 30, 2006 entries above for background information.)
January 1, 2007
Happily, the trans fat campaign has been a major success and what was a trickle of news in 2003 and 2004 has now become a flood. In the future, we will report only the most significant news.
We will no longer attempt to report on all of the restaurant chains and products going trans fat-free. Check our Eateries News page for a partial list of restaurants going trans fat-free.
Project Tiburon launched the trans fat-free city movement in 2004. There are now too many similar initiatives and we cannot report on all of them on a continuing basis. Check our home page for a list of cities and states which have passed or are considering trans fat-free bans and other initiatives.
January 3, 2007
Starbucks announced that it is making all of its stores trans fat-free. Starbucks stores in Seattle, New York City, Los Angeles, San Diego, San
Francisco, Portland, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
have converted to trans fat-free items by today.
Click here for an article.
January 24, 2007
The J. M. Smucker Company announced today it has reformulated the entire line of Crisco shortening products to contain "zero grams trans fat per serving." The reformulated Crisco shortening is already being shipped nationwide and makes Crisco the first national shortening brand to be completely reformulated to contain "zero grams trans fat per serving.
This is significant because Crisco has always been the "poster child" of trans fat.
A word of caution. The revamped shortenings contain fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil with
lower amounts of partially hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oil. The
shortenings still contain some trans fat. They are taking advtantage of the FDA rule that states "if the serving contains less than 0.5 gram [of trans fat], the content, when declared, shall be expressed as zero."
Click here for the media release. Click here for the Crisco website.
Click here for a side-by-side comparison of cookies prepared with the old Crisco (containing trans fat) and the new Crisco (without trans fat).
January 28, 2007
McDonald's says that it has found a trans fat-free oil it deems worthy of its french fries, and plans to be using it for all its fried menu items by early 2008.
It's not easy getting information from the company
but finally we have some news
Click here and here to read the story.
Click here for the Chicago Tribune taste test. (Result: They taste exactly the same!)
February 8, 2007
The Philadelphia City Council has passed a trans fat ban. Click here for a news article.
February 15, 2007
Mayor John Street of Philadelphia signed the trans fat ban into law.
March 6, 2007
California Assembly Member Tony Mendoza is new in Sacramento (the capital of California). He won election in November 2006. His first legislative act was to introduce a bill to ban trans fats in California. Click here to read the bill. Click here for Tony Mendoza's website.
Standing up for California's consumers
On March 6, 2007, the Assembly Committee on Health held a hearing on the bill. Tony Mendoza and Stephen Joseph of BanTransFats.com testfied at the hearing. The Committee on Health approved the bill 9-4. The next major step will be a vote by the full Assembly.
Tony has two assistants working on the bill, Luis Patino and Alma Hernandez. They are doing a fabulous job.
Tony Mendoza and his staff are demonstrating total commitment to public health and we congratulate and thank them for this initiative.
If the bill becomes law, the effective date of the ban will be 2009 or 201food chains in Australia agree to remove trans fat from their products, thereby averting government intervention.
Click here for a news article.
April 10, 2007
Food companies use cartoons characters to sell sugary fatty foods to kids. Well now it's time to counterattack. The American Heart Association has launched its Bad Fat Brothers campaign using funds that BanTransFats.com obtained from the McDonald's trans fat litigation settlement. Click here for the American Heart Association media release.
Click here for the cartoon webisode of the Bad Fat Brothers.
May 4, 2007
State and federal health ministers in Australia have voted against immediately forcing fast-food companies to reduce dangerous trans fats in their cooking. But the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council has warned regulation was a strong possibility if progress was not made.
Click here to read the story.
June 20, 2007
Canadian Health Minister Tony Clement announced today that Health Canada is adopting the Canadian Trans Fat Task Force’s recommendation on trans fats in Canadian foods, by calling on Canada’s food industry to limit the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines to 2 percent of the total fat content, and to limit the trans fat content for all other foods to 5 percent, including ingredients sold to restaurants.
The Canadian Trans Fat Task Force, a multi-stakeholder group led by Health Canada in conjunction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, submitted recommendations to the Minister of Health in June 2006.
Minister Clement said: “We are giving industry two years to reduce trans fats to the lowest levels possible as recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force. If significant progress has not been made over the next two years, we will regulate to ensure the levels are met.”
Click here for the media release.
Click here for a copy of the Task Force's final report. Click here for the Trans Fat Task Force's webpage.
June 26, 2007
The ban on partially hydrogenated frying oils takes effect in New York City on July 1, 2007. The Washington Post reports today as follows:
NEW YORK -- No more trans fats with those french fries? No problem. The city's ballyhooed ban on trans fat cooking oils in all New York restaurants _ an idea that gave chefs indigestion when first proposed _ seems to be going surprisingly smoothly. Across the city, most fast food chains say they've already made the switch days before the July 1 deadline, which is Sunday.
Still, the trans fat overhaul is viewed as a major victory by health advocates. Trans fats, found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, clog arteries and contribute to heart disease. But they are also cheaper and have a longer shelf life, so industry at first stubbornly resisted dumping them.
That began to change last winter.
Cooking oil companies had already ramped up production of trans-fat alternatives. Restaurant supply companies began stocking kitchens with replacement products.
Big fast food chains that relied heavily on the old oils, from Burger King to Carl's Jr. to Kentucky Fried Chicken, announced they would eliminate the stuff from their fryers nationwide.
Even McDonald's, which had anguished over the potential impact on its french fries, said its phase-in of the new oils in thousands of restaurants has gone unnoticed by customers.
"The transition has been absolutely seamless," said spokesman Walt Riker.
While the city health department hasn't finished tallying results of a recent survey on oil use, there is evidence that smaller restaurants are ready too.
A special help line, set up by the city for chefs trying to reform their kitchens, has been lightly used.
The ease of the switch to zero-trans oils may have been aided by the behind-the-scenes work of seed and oil companies.
Resistance to the ban still exists, but it may be primarily on philosophical grounds.
Mat Arnfield, the chef at A Salt & Battery, a much-loved Manhattan fish and chips shop, said any cooks still complaining about the change aren't concerned with taste.
The primary difference between the trans-fat oils and their alternatives, he said, is cost. The blend of corn and canola oils he uses in his frying bins now is slightly more expensive than the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils rich in trans fats, but the price difference is small.
"If they are cutting corners that much," he said of restaurants reluctant to switch, "I wouldn't really trust those guys to make me a plate of food anyway."
Restaurants in the city had never kicked too hard over taste considerations, but they had chafed at the idea that anyone should be telling them how to cook.
And there is still some question about whether the ingredients restaurants are using instead of trans fats are just as bad for you. Restaurants can comply by switching to a cooking oil high in saturated fat, which could clog your arteries almost as quickly.
The tougher transition on trans fats could come a year from now, when the city has ordered artificial trans fats out of all products, not just oils and spreads.
Experts say it may be more difficult to find a good replacement for partially hydrogenated vegetable shortenings, which give baked goods like cookies and crackers their characteristic texture.
"That is definitely a more challenging environment," said Bill McCullough, a marketing director for St. Louis-based Bunge Oils.
Alternatives are available, he said, but culinary researchers are still at work on something that will have the taste and texture of butter or lard and the shelf life of a hydrogenated product high in trans fats.
"We realize as an organization that it is just a matter a time before hydrogenation is gone," he said. Bunge has already stopped marketing products containing artificial trans fats, McCullough said.
"We decided it would be like marketing Marlboro Red cigarettes."
June 27, 2007
The California Assembly passed the Mendoza bill banning trans fat by a vote of 42 to 27. Now it's on to the California Senate.
Click here to read the story.
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