Help remove fake food from the food supply

When Chinese companies were caught putting melamine into dog food people were outraged. No matter what the protein tests may have said (that’s why melamine was added, it made the protein content look higher) it isn’t food. Seems pretty straightforward.

But most people eating the “Western diet” — heavy on processed foods and factory-farmed meat — consume many pounds of non-food every year. And it’s currently completely legal.

If you’ve ready any of Michael Pollan’s stuff — especially In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto — you’ve heard the phrase “edible foodlike substances”. For the history behind that, you can take a look at The Oiling Of America.

The bottom line is we’ve replaced most of the healthy animal fats in our diet with hydrogenated vegetable oils, now known as “trans fats”. We’ve been told for decades that vegetable oil was better for us than animal fats. More and more research is showing that it’s not.

University of Illinois food scientist Fred Kummerow has decided it’s time to stop sitting on the sidelines and try to do something about it. He has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the source of trans fat — partially hydrogenated fat — from the American diet.

Kummerow contends trans fat contributes to both major causes of heart disease — the gradual plaque buildup in the arteries that interferes with blood flow and sudden blood clots in coronary arteries that can cause sudden death due to blockage.
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“Trans fat calcifies both the arteries and veins and causes blood clots,” he says in his petition to the FDA.

Even worse:

A recent reformulation of hydrogenated fat which he believes began around 2004 raised the trans fat levels from 20 percent to nearly 40 percent, he said.

Which means that without changing our eating habits, anyone eating manufactured food has doubled their intake of trans fats in the last five years.

The FDA acknowledged receipt of Kummerow’s petition Aug. 7 and has 180 days to respond. To support his petition, Kummerow requests, send an e-mail to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg at:

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