Posts tagged as:

trans-fats

Food roundup

by Walter Olson on July 24, 2014

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Food roundup

by Walter Olson on December 31, 2013

  • Gee, thanks, NIH: “Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda to Show the ‘Evils’ of Private Alcohol Sales” [Michelle Minton, CEI]
  • “So this summer, under the supervision of officials from U.S. Customs, all three thousand two hundred and ninety-seven pounds of Mimolette were tossed into dumpsters and doused in bleach.” [The New Yorker, Dec. 9, subscription; S.F. Chronicle, earlier on French cheese controversy here, here, etc.]
  • FDA forced to back off FSMA regs, NYC soda ban loses twice in court, and other highlights of the year in food freedom [Baylen Linnekin] “Americans Think They Should Be Allowed to Buy Foods with Trans Fats and Caffeinated Energy Drinks” [Emily Ekins on new Reason-RUPE poll] “The Dangers of a Soda Tax” [Trevor Burrus] Linnekin podcast on FDA’s trans-fat ban [Cato, Caleb Brown interview]
  • “Annals of Closing Statements in Exploding Bottle Cases” [Kyle Graham]
  • “Minnesota says raw milk makes more people sick than recognized” [L.A. Times]
  • It’s for the children: proposals for regulating in-store food marketing [Jennifer Pomeranz via Public Citizen]
  • Federal sugar program devastated domestic candy manufacturing, as WaPo (sometimes) recognizes [Chris Edwards]

Food roundup

by Walter Olson on November 26, 2013

BlueBandMargarineAd

  • “The FDA’s Ill-Conceived Proposal to Ban Trans Fats” [Baylen Linnekin] Margarine and other butterfat substitutes help in keeping a meal kosher, but FDA appears indifferent to individual preference [Ira Stoll] Can the baker fudge the formula for Baltimore’s Berger cookies? [Baltimore Sun, WTOP/Capital] Organized grocery lobby appears to be going quietly, perhaps a misguided strategy since this sets a precedent for yanking familiar ingredients off Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list, and many activists would like to move on to things like sugar next [Bloomberg Business Week, Doug Mataconis/Outside the Beltway, Michelle Minton/CEI, Bainbridge] Switch to palm oil might accelerate deforestation [Scientific American]
  • FDA’s regs implementing Food Safety Modernization Act could tank small farmers and other food operations, commenters write in by thousands [Baylen Linnekin, Jim Slama, HuffPo]
  • Proposed Austin curbs on fast food restaurants might ensnare its beloved food trucks [Linnekin]
  • Any day now FDA could issue long-awaited, highly burdensome new menu calorie labeling regs [Hinkle] Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Angus King (Ind.-ME) introduce bill to excuse grocers and convenience stories from rules and simplify compliance for pizzerias [Andrew Ramonas/BLT]
  • “Panel weighs in on soda ban at law school” [NYU News covers my recent panel discussion there with Jacob Sullum and Prof. Roderick Hills, pic courtesy @vincentchauvet]
  • “Organic Farmers Bash FDA Restrictions On Manure Use” [NPR via Ira Stoll]
  • Nick Farr looks at NYT retrospective on the Stella Liebeck (McDonald’s) hot coffee case [Abnormal Use]
  • “Sugar is the most destructive force in the universe” according to expert witness who meets with less than favorable reception in corn syrup case [Glenn Lammi, WLF]

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KeepYourLaws“The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it is taking the first step toward banning dangerous trans fats that are found in a variety of processed foods. The agency said in a statement that the fats, used in a number of products from margarine and coffee creamer to frozen pizza, are a major health concern for Americans despite lower consumption of the dangerous, artery-clogging fats over the last twenty years.” [Chicago Tribune, our earlier coverage] More: Julie Gunlock, IWF; Scott Shackford, Reason; Michelle Minton, CEI (logic of removing ingredient from GRAS list based on long-term cumulative health effects could point toward regulating salt, sugar).

From comments: “Trans fats are pretty rare in my experience at this point outside of, ironically, military rations.” [L.C. Burgundy] More: Via Jacob Grier, Olga Khazan at The Atlantic recalls the days when the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) denounced restaurant chains for using saturated fat. The ensuing pressure campaign resulted in a widespread switchover to supposedly healthier trans-fat.

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Food roundup

by Walter Olson on March 19, 2013

  • If you thought “finger in chili” was bad, meet the Utah couple arrested on charges of planting razor blade shards in doughnuts and swallowing some [KSL, Daily Mail]
  • My talk a few weeks ago as part of Cato Institute panel on nanny state [YouTube, Bruce Majors]
  • New Reason-RUPE public opinion survey finds public broadly opposed to food and drink bans [Sullum]
  • Feds’ bad advice on polyunsaturated fat: more damaging than any mass tort in sight? [David Oliver] More: Hans Bader.
  • Coroner blames woman’s death on Coca-Cola addiction [TV NZ] Monster Beverage: natural causes, not caffeine toxicity, killed Maryland teen [Reuters, NYT, earlier] More: Jacob Sullum.
  • Oh, CSPI, thou contradictest thyself [Baylen Linnekin; more from him on parents' and kids' food choices quoting me, NYC soda ban]
  • “Bloomberg limits seder portions” [Purim spoof, New York Jewish Week]
  • Kelly Brownell, guru of obesity-reduction-through-coercion formerly based at Yale, named dean of public policy school at Duke;
  • “A Knife, a Walmart Birthday Cake and a Frenzy of Overreaction” [Free-Range Kids] Mardi Gras perennial: can you buy king cake with baby figurine already in it? [same, earlier]
  • Now they tell us: NYT book review not conspicuously enthusiastic about Michael Moss anti-food-biz book hyped to the rafters in NYT magazine three weeks earlier [Ira Stoll, SmarterTimes, our take]

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Trans fat in frozen pizza? You might not find that so terribly surprising, but it’s reason enough for a class action against Nestlé, makers of DiGiorno, Stouffer’s and California Pizza Kitchen, which flings around words like “toxic” to describe partially hydrogenated vegetable oils [LaMesa Patch]

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The Boston suburb of Chelsea, emulating New York City and other municipalities, is banning trans fats in restaurant recipes effective Jan. 1, leaving bakery owner Richard Katz “vowing to stop selling pastries rather than peddle what he calls ‘awful’ tasting trans fat-free baked goods.” [Fox Boston via Keep Food Legal]

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February 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 2, 2011

  • Many of the best New Jersey sledding slopes are off limits now: “Litigators ruin pretty much everything” [Bainbridge]
  • Granola bar trans-fat lawsuit leaves Russell Jackson unimpressed;
  • “Criminal barbering”: license lapse gets 82-year-old Oregon hair-cutter in legal trouble [Perry]
  • Tomorrow’s economy won’t thrive if municipal authorities strangle innovative businesses where they incubate [Conor Friedersdorf, City Journal]
  • Need to bring property taxes under control? Try litigation reform [NJLRA]
  • Convicted at height of 90s child-abuse prosecution fever, Ohio pair seek to reopen case [Briefcase] More: Balko.
  • Here’s an idea: “Let the shareholders decide if SOX is worth the costs.” [Ribstein]
  • Retired Massachusetts attorney found in possession of stolen art trove [five years ago on Overlawyered] Updates courtesy reader Ronald Stimbert: Legal Blog Watch 2008 (attorney convicted); Cape Cod Times 2010 (paintings returned to owner).

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Stossel on the food police

by Walter Olson on January 29, 2010


Last night’s show.

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Governor Schwarzenegger has signed into law the first statewide ban on the use of the maligned ingredient by restaurants and food service facilities. (Samantha Sondag, “Gov. signs nation’s first statewide ban on trans fats in restaurants”, San Francisco Chronicle, Jul. 25).

P.S. Speaking of the nanny state in California, Los Angeles is moving to ban new fast food restaurants from poorer sections of South Central L.A. on the explicitly paternalistic grounds that it knows better than local residents what they should be eating. Prof. Bainbridge has more.

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It’s going on from California to New York City: a Drew Carey feature for Reason.tv.

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And more May 17 updates

by Ted Frank on May 17, 2007

  • Google beats Perfect 10 in Ninth Circuit appeal over copyright suit over thumbnail images. (Earlier: Feb. 06, Jul. 05, Nov. 04.) [LA Times; WaPo; Bashman; Perfect 10 v. Amazon (9th Cir. 2007)]
  • Judge thinks better over Brent Coon’s attempt to intimidate local press through subpoenas. Earlier: Apr. 24. [WSJ Law Blog]
  • US Supreme Court throws out punitive damages ruling in Buell-Wilson case, lets rest of decision stand. Earlier: Jan. 4 and links therein. Beck and Herrmann also discussed the case in March in the context of a larger discussion of the appropriateness of issuing punitive damages against a company that relied on government safety standards in good faith. [LA Times; AP].
  • Big LA Times piece on the still-pending Extreme Makeover suit, where a family seeks to hold ABC responsible for an intra-household dispute over the spoils of a reality show. Earlier: Mar. 4, Aug. 12, 2005. [LA Times]
  • KFC may have won on trans-fats litigation, as David reported May 3, but they capitulate to Jerry Brown’s pursuit of Lockyer’s equally bogus acrylamide suit over the naturally-occurring chemical in potatoes (Oct. 05, Aug. 05, Aug. 05, May 05, Apr. 04, etc.). KFC will pay a nuisance settlement of $341,000 and will add a meaningless warning in California stores. (Tim Reiterman, “KFC to tell customers of chemical in potatoes”, LA Times Apr. 25).
  • McDonald’s sued over hot coffee. Again. One of the allegations is that McDonald’s failed to secure the lid, which is a legitimate negligence suit, but there’s also a bogus “failure to warn me that coffee is hot” count. [Southeast Texas Record; and a Southeast Texas Record op-ed that plainly read Overlawyered on the subject]

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“In a twist of science, the law and what some call trans-fat hysteria, [New York City] wholesale bakers are being forced to substitute processed fats like palm oil and margarine for good old-fashioned butter because of the small amounts of natural trans fat butter contains.” (Kim Severson, “Trans Fat Fight Claims Butter as a Victim”, New York Times, Mar. 7). More: Feb. 15, 2005; Jun. 14, Jul. 30, Sept. 27, Oct. 16, Dec. 5, Dec. 10, 2006; Mar. 3, 2007.

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While the NYC Health Commissioner was squandering the city’s credibility on trans fats (“totally replaceable“, you betcha) and hatching Big Brother schemes for diabetic-watching, the traditional and basic functions of his office, like keeping rats out of restaurants, were going untended, notes an editorial in the Post. “The Taco Bell in question had received a, you should pardon the expression, clean bill of health from one of Frieden’s restaurant inspectors 24 hours before the rats were taped doing their “Happy Feet” impressions last Thursday morning. …Of course, if the Taco Bell rats had been smoking, Frieden would have been there to nail the door shut himself.” Andrew Stuttaford at NRO thinks it’s long past time for Frieden to go. (cross-posted from Point of Law).

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Letter to the editor, WSJ

by Walter Olson on December 20, 2006

Today’s WSJ (sub-only) carries a letter from senior fellow Maureen Martin of Chicago’s Heartland Institute mentioning this site, and quoting from Greg Dwyer’s “letter from a new father” of Nov. 14, all in the course of arguing that a backlash may be afoot against the new food nannyism typified by Mayor Bloomberg’s trans fat ban.

The war on trans fats

by Walter Olson on December 10, 2006

Ann Althouse detects aesthetic, rather than paternalistic, origins (Dec. 9). More: Steve Chapman, “New York’s food police ride to the rescue”, syndicated/Chicago Tribune, Dec. 11; and more Althouse.

I was a guest this morning on host Marty Moss-Coane’s radio program, debating Yale professor Kelly Brownell on proposed trans fat bans. For more information on that and other food issues, see this site’s Eat Drink & Be Merry page.

P.S.: Prof. Brownell claimed the proposed New York City regulation banning most uses of trans fats wouldn’t be burdensome to restaurant owners, and quoted the owner of the Carnegie Deli, which has managed to dispense with most (though not all) use of those fats. Through the miracle of Google I was able to track down the New York Times’s coverage as we spoke and so was able to read the audience the entire quote from Carnegie Deli owner Sanford Levine, which included a portion Prof. Brownell was not so eager to quote: “They shouldn’t tell a businessman how to run a business,” Levine said. “They can make suggestions, but I don’t think it should be the law.” Prof. Brownell also claimed that there had been no great outcry in New York over the rules. The Times’s headline told a different story: “Big Brother in the Kitchen? New Yorkers Balk“.

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I was a guest this afternoon on Michelle Martin’s live National Public Radio talk show, “Talk of the Nation“, discussing New York City’s proposed ban on most uses of trans fats in restaurants. ABC News “World News Tonight” also had me comment for a news segment on the issue planned for tonight’s broadcast.

On NPR, NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden claimed that it is always possible to duplicate the taste and other gustatory qualities of a trans fat recipe using other fats. For an example of a business that stumbled by buying into this particular premise, see Jun. 30 (West Virginia potato chip maker Mister Bee).

P.S. On the NPR audio clip, check out the section just before I come on where host Martin, interviewing Frieden, does a blind taste testing of two wafer cookies, one made with trans fats and one without. And here’s a mention by Bonnie Erbe at USNews.com (Sept. 27)(attributing to me “typical eloquently opinionated New York style”).