New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, and California have already banned trans fats in restaurants. Now Burger King and Chick-Fil-A have announced they won’t use the ingredient anymore. But some people are starting to wonder whether the fat bans that are rippling across the country are such a good idea. The Times Union in Albany asks why food-cop groups are so keen to attack trans fats now when margarine has been around for decades:
Are trans fats hidden killers or just the latest example of nanny-state meddling that could lead to — who knows? — legislation regulating sodium levels, high-fructose corn syrup or fat content? If restaurants are prohibited from using trans fats, what’s next: being restricted to skim milk for lattes and government-mandated ratios for how much oil is permissible in salad dressing? And why are trans fats being banned when saturated fats, which Americans eat far more of, aren’t on any legislative agenda?
Indeed, officials are hinting that citywide bans are only the tip of the government-meddling iceberg. "The state needs … to mandate that trans fats (are) no longer acceptable in our restaurants," said Assemblyman Feliz W. Ortiz, a Brooklyn Democrat, in pushing for statewide bans. He also told the Times Union that he envisions other limitations on food.
So it’s clear that banning trans fats is only the beginning. We’ve had our ear to the ground and have heard the drumbeats to limit our personal freedoms in the name of “public health.” The overzealous fanatics at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) have spent the past year trying to get salt reclassified as an unsafe substance. Corn syrup is under attack on a daily basis. And the organized effort to slander caffeine has been a poorly kept secret for some time.
If CSPI and other nutrition nannies get their way, we’ll soon be arbitrarily maligning other ingredients that have been around forever. But if there’s one thing we believe, it’s that you should be able to enjoy food without a skull and crossbones scowling up at you. New bans and regulations could lead to warning labels on your coffee cup, and a caution sign on that bag of popcorn at the movie theater.
But has anyone ever died because of his love of a morning latte?