FDA Trans-Fat Ban Gets to the Heart of the Matter

Food and Drug Administration

Food and Drug Administration

(Silver Spring, MD — June 16, 2015) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced a plan to finally ban trans-fats from the foods consumed by average, ordinary, everyday Americans.

Predictably, not everyone was happy with the announcement.

Trans-fats can clog arteries and cause a variety of coronary diseases. The FDA estimates that thousands of heart attack deaths per year can be prevented by the trans-fat phase-out.

The agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) touted the plan, which provides trans-fat food producers a window of three years to phase out their use, as a good thing for the nation.

“Today’s announcement means that average, ordinary, everyday Americans soon won’t have to worry about getting chest pains during dinner,” said a CFSAN spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It means that they won’t have to worry about having a heart attack while eating and falling face-first into their grandmother’s potato salad. This is a win for America.”

Clogged Artery

Clogged Artery

But some members of Congress decried today’s announcement, saying it’s just another example of overreach by a Federal agency.

“The FDA is intruding into the private lives of average, ordinary, everyday Americans,” said a frothing-at-the-mouth Tea Partyist spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s the God-given right of every American to eat any food they wish, no matter how bad it is for them. It’s time to get the Federal government out of the business of actually protecting Americans’ health at the cost of corporate losses, job losses, and the loss of individual liberties.”

Additionally, representatives from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) also voiced concerns about increased costs and lost jobs due to implementing the trans-fat ban.

Grocery Manufacturers Association

Grocery Manufacturers Association

“At a time where corporations are reaping bucket-loads of profits, and at a time where CEOs and CFOs are earning nine-figure bonuses, we can ill afford to cut into those numbers by actually improving the health of average, ordinary, everyday Americans,” said a GMA spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity.

But the FDA shot back with a shockingly lucid counter-argument.

“If the grocers sell trans-fat foods to their customers, and their customers die from heart attacks, won’t the absence of customers eat into their profits, leading to increased costs and job losses?” asked a CFSAN spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The banning of trans-fats is just the latest example in a string of controversial calls by the FDA:

  • In February 2014, in spite of warnings about the risks of addiction and death, the agency approved the sale and use of Zohydro, an extremely potent painkiller. The decision was panned by health officials and organizations but hailed by members of Congress – especially those with stock in Zogenix, Zohydro’s manufacturer.
  • In March 2015, the agency banned Swiss-manufactured coffee creamers from America’s store shelves because the creamers’ lids depicted images of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. While most average, ordinary, everyday Americans applauded the FDA’s initiative, some members of Congress protested, calling the move restraint of trade.