The Center for Science in the Public Interest — a Washington-based think tank which focuses on food and nutrition — is urging the FDA to require restaurants to disclose the use of trans fats. I don’t always agree with the CSPI, but I’ll concede that they may be on point this time.
In case you’re not up to speed on trans fats, they’re a type of fat (like saturated fat or monounsaturated fat) but far worse than other types of fat since they not only raise your “bad” cholesterol but they also lower your “good ” cholesterol. They’re created by the hydrogenation of liquid oils (turning them solid) and commonly used by restaurants for frying.
The FDA is requiring food labels to include trans fat by 2006, but that still doesn’t help much with restaurants. And, as much as I respect a restaurant’s artistic license to design their menu as they like, I’m not sure that artistic license outweighs the health concerns in this case.
So, I think the CSPI may be on to something here. Then again, I don’t agree with everything they have to say. One of their side-projects is TransFreeAmeria, an effort to ban trans fat entirely. And, while trans fat is undeniably unhealthy, I still believe that people should have the choice to consume whatever they like, whether bad for them or otherwise.