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Is artificial trans fat on its way to extinction?

Posted Jul 29 2009 10:28pm
On the trans fat front, two great pieces of news. First, Unilever has announced that they will remove all partially hydrogenated oils from its soft spread margarines. Translation...Unilever's margarines will no longer contain artificial trans fat! (Dairy products used in margarine production may still contain naturally occurring trans fats.) Unilever margarine brands include I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and Shedd's Spread Country Crock. Removal of partially hydrogenated oils from their margarine should be complete by second quarter of 2010.

Second, Cargill recently announced that it will cease production of partially hydrogenated oil at its Wichita plant.
"The demand for hydrogenated oils has decreased significantly as a result of trans fat reduction in foods, therefore leaving the plant underutilized," said Mike Venker, president, Cargill Dressings, Sauces & Oils. "We made every effort to keep the production at the plant, but ultimately could not achieve acceptable production efficiencies."
I'm not happy about the jobs inevitably lost with this decision (actually, I hope that they were able to repurpose the line for non-hydrogenated oils and save the jobs), but I am thrilled that the market for partially hydrogenated oils has dried up!

Is this the death knell for trans fat as Marion Nestle, nutrition professor at New York University and author of several respected books, has declared? Let's hope so! In the meantime, read those labels! Trans fat might be on the way out, but that doesn't mean that it's gone yet. I find it in way too many foods still on the shelves.

Special thanks toFat Fighter TVandFooducatewho broke the news to me. If you need a primer on trans fat and why we should avoid it, check out my post on the subject.
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