After two decades of battles by public health advocates, the artery clogging trans fats common in cookies, frozen pizzas and other processed foods have been deemed unsafe by U.S. regulators, opening the door to a ban.
Libertarians and others saw evidence of a metastasizing “nanny state” in 2006 when Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned artificial trans fats in New York City. A similar outcry is likely to follow last week’s announcement that the Food and Drug Administration has taken the first steps toward eliminating partially hydrogenated oils from the American diet.
U.S. farmers may lose as much as 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of annual soybean production if regulators move too quickly to ban trans fats in processed food, according to the American Soybean Association.
A lawyer for New York City cited the threat to public health posed by obesity and its direct link to sugary drinks in asking the state’s highest court to cap beverage sizes in restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums and arenas.
Cholesterol levels in U.S. children improved in the past two decades as makers of cookies, crackers and French fries responded to public concern that trans fats used in their products may be harmful to health.