Moving against trans-fats
Jaime LujÃ¡n 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.....
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
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 problemâ€¦ 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-fatsâ€¦ just be sure you can keep any promises you make to consumers about
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