655 views 1 commentupdate:Dec 22, 2006

Moving against trans-fats

Jaime Luján Zilbermann
Trans-fats have become a huge subject lately, as their deleterious effects on health have become apparent....What's all the fuss about? Trans-fats, as they are most commonly known, are unsaturated fats, like most edible oils.....

Trans-fats have become a huge subject lately, as their deleterious effects on health have become apparent. This is especially true for the processing industry, which has relied heavily on their use since their development in the early 1900s. The current trend is to eliminate them from foodstuffs as much as possible, but particular care must be taken when doing so.
What's all the fuss about? Trans-fats, as they are most commonly known, are unsaturated fats, like most edible oils. However, unlike these, they seem to be the cause for an elevated risk for coronary heart disease. Because of this, there has been a strong campaign to limit their use. The pressure has been great enough that recently, KFC announced it would cease to use them to fry their products.
However, KFC is not the only fast-food chain to join the "zero trans-fat" bandwagon. McDonald's made a similar announcement in 2003, when, to much fanfare, it announced it would seek to switch to using a cooking oil with a lower content of trans-fats. This led to an unforeseen problem… McDonald's fries have a reputation among certain circles to be the best tasting fries in the fast food market. The company was keen to maintain this edge, but apparently the oil switch also cause a taste switch. The solution? Not to switch cooking oils and announce it so quietly that most consumers would think the switch had taken place when in fact it hadn't.
Of course, not everyone has such a short memory and some people actually check what goes on. McDonald's was successfully sued to spend more money in an effort to make sure the message that they had not actually switch cooking oils had reached consumers.
This does not seem to be the case with KFC. According to their press release, they have spent the last two years testing different cooking oils so that the taste of their fried chicken remains the same and only made the announcement once they were ready for it.
In short, it's commendable for any food processor to discontinue the use of trans-fats… just be sure you can keep any promises you make to consumers about it!

One comment

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    mehdi shahidi

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