The Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that common sense must prevail when it comes to the nation’s health.
The FDA announced Thursday that there is no safe level of partially hydrogenated oils. The move — unusually bold for an agency that typically leaves additive safety to the private sector — is the first step in what could be a long road to removing trans fats, which are still widely used to improve the texture and shelf stability of processed foods like frosting, doughnuts and crackers.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg was blunt in describing partially hydrogenated oils, saying they are “a man-made not naturally occurring substance that increases the risk of heart disease.”
The commissioner said further reduction of the amount of trans fats in the American diet could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year. She called the agency’s announcement “a critical step in the protection of Americans’ health.”
The F.D.A. is asking industry for some advice before moving forward with this plan.
Industry has been leading the way thanks to the healthy eating and drinking wave of the last decade, and science has shown the detrimental effects of trans fats.
The free-market has spoken.
The government is finishing the job on trans-fats because it is a health issue affecting thousands of Americans per year. It’s something kids and adults consume, and it’s something we all end-up paying for whenever people are rushed to the emergency room after suffering a heart attack.
Government sets standards. Sometimes the standards are plain common sense, and sometimes they’re controversial. But that’s the government’s main job: Protecting its people.
Don’t forget, the government required food-makers last decade to reveal if trans fats were used in their products. Once Americans began to learn which foods contained trans fats, they stopped consuming those foods.
Did government have a right to get involved and enact that regulation? Some would say no, but I–and apparently millions of other American consumers–say yes!
The F.D.A. waited made some recommendations through the years, allowing businesses to prepare for the inevitability, and now it’s ready to close the book on the health debilitating substance.
This is a perfect example of government working for the betterment of its people.