Trans Fats, All Natural, and Pink Slime Are Going Away

trans fats
Your restaurant may use these products in your recipes, or even sell them flat-out, but there’s three major changes to the products you may use on a daily basis. One’s a major change enforced by the Food and Drug Administration, while two more are up on the hands of their own companies. Keeping up with major food news will allow your company to stay proactive in recipes, trends, and menu updates you may need to make.

No More Trans Fats

In 1999, the FDA proposed that all foods including trans fats would have to label and quantify the amount in it. In 2006, the law went through, and since then, food items that included trans fats have labeled as such. Many trans fats come from partially-hydrogenated oils, which are no longer “generally recognized as safe”. Any food ingredient that is not generally recognized as safe can not legally be sold.

While many companies and products have voluntarily taken out trans fats, the FDA reports that the following common items contain trans fats

  • crackers, cookies, cakes, frozen pies and other baked goods
  • snack foods (such as microwave popcorn)
  • frozen pizza
  • vegetable shortenings and stick margarines
  • coffee creamers
  • refrigerated dough products (such as biscuits and cinnamon rolls)
  • ready-to-use frostings

Naturally, these items would have to reformulate to remain on shelves. While your restaurant probably does not sell frozen pizza, it’s not a stretch to imagine that coffee creamers, shortenings, margarines, frostings and dough could be in use in your restaurant.

With this ban, you may find some of your popular ingredients having their recipes modified, and therefore you may need to adjust your recipes or even menu. In some cases, the product may even be made completely unavailable.

No Longer Natural, Same Ingredients

The Wall Street Journal reports that various companies, such as PepsiCo and Campbell Soup, will no longer carrying “natural”. This doesn’t mean that they’ll be changing the ingredients in their products, but are more attempting to avoid any potential lawsuits that could come from “natural” products being a little deceptive. Litigation against “false advertising” can either be completely dismissed or end up with millions in payouts. A congressional bill introduced would empower the FDA to enforce more strict labeling regulations. There’s also confusion if items that used genetically-modified organisms can be marketed as natural.

Other terms may be used to mitigate confusion, such as “simple”, “wholesome”, and more.

“Pink Slime”? More Like “Finely Textured Beef”

The concept of “pink slime” horrified many consumers. This “finely textured beef” is the trimmings of better cuts, washed to kill contaminates. It’s used as a binder in beef products that were everywhere, but once a report about it came out, many companies dropped them. The New York Times reports that Cargill, a major beef producer, will label items that include this food as “finely textured beef” on their packaging. While safe and edible, this type of beef is generally frowned upon for it’s unsavory concept, as it doesn’t come from one clear cut of meat, and is washed to decontaminate.

These are three changes that are clearly intended to make products better, and consumers more knowledgeable. How will they affect your restaurant?