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.
For the second time, blue-state voters have defeated a ballot initiative to require labeling of genetically modified foods. In 2012, it was California; this week, it was Washington, where a labeling referendum lost 55 percent to 45 percent.