FDA's New Trans Fat Ban, the Revocation of GRAS Status, and How It All Affects Bakers - Sometimes Morally

In their latest press release, the FDA has revoked the GRAS ('generally recognized as safe') label for Trans Fats. And, it is giving all food manufacturers three years to remove partially hydrogenated oils - the leading source of artificially created Trans Fats - from their products.

From the press release:
The FDA has set a compliance period of three years. This will allow companies to either reformulate products without PHOs and/or petition the FDA to permit specific uses of PHOs. Following the compliance period, no PHOs can be added to human food unless they are otherwise approved by the FDA.
The American Heart Association is applauding this powerful move by the FDA, but notes on their blog that even though Trans Fats will be phased out, consumers will still need to read labels, as with the removal of partially hydrogenated oils in formulas comes the incorporation of solid saturated fats into those same recipes.

How does this affect bakers (and other food manufacturers)? Formulation and substitutions. A pretty good article "Bakers blast 'flawed' FDA trans-fat crackdown: 'It's unlawful, unnecessary and will have unintended consequences" from Foodnavigator-usa.com last year spells out how this will affect how many of them will look at partially hydrogenated oil derived emulsifiers in formulation - and that there are no real clear substitutions for them. Lee Sanders, SVP government relations and public affairs for the ABA was quoted as saying this in that interview:
[H]ydrogenation - both full and partial - is of particular importance to bakers because it is used in the manufacture of emulsifiers...for which there are no functional alternatives.
While my kids and their kids will most likely not eat the same products laden with Trans Fats that I did growing up (and be healthier in the long run simply because of that), it is a fact that food manufactures will have to scramble to create formulations that have the same mouth feel, shelf life, and moistness as do the current ones, which will affect prices. Cheap foods cheaply made may be a thing of the past, or we can hope, and better clean eating practices may develop over time.

So, not only are food manufacturers now looking at how to create equatable substitutions for any product that derives from the manufacture of Trans Fats along with avoiding Trans Fats entirely, some bakers are looking at how this will affect their bottom line, simply from the fact that Trans Fats are not as expensive as other fats - namely creamery butter. Essentially, all bakers bake to create a product to sell that hopefully customers will enjoy, and have it make a profit they can live on, and support their families, right? And is there a moral quandary with reformulation, concerning ourselves with businesses staying in business using Trans Fats at the expense of public health?

To weigh in on this quandary, Rabbi Tzvi Freeman for Chabad.org gives a wonderful answer to a question on this topic in "Trans-Fats and a Baker's Moral Dilemma" with this quote:
Most bakers think they're baking because they have to make a living. But we are human beings, not money-making machines. Whatever we do must have a deeper purpose. Including pastry making. Whatever the reason G‑d gave you this job, it wasn't in order to poison people.
And that pretty much sums up any arguments on that end.

+Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC

6 Different Authentic Hispanic Breads - Full Scale Bakery Recipes

Pan de Meurto

From Bakemag.com - six different authentic Hispanic breads for your bakery applications. Included: bolillo, concha, elote, pan de meurto, whole wheat bolilo, and whole wheat telera. The whole wheat telera and the whole wheat bolilo recipes include both small and large batch recipes. All recipes are based on BakeMark products, so keep that in mind, but a good collection of specialty formulations.

Formulations: 6 Authentic Hispanic Breads.

Image source: Wikimedia.

Ivorian Cocoa Embargo Likely if Nestle, ADM and Cargill Child Slavery Case Goes Through According to Judge

In an article by Oliver Nieburg+ posted to Confectionery News, an Ivorian cocoa embargo will likely be if a Nestlé, ADM and Cargill child slavery case succeeds, says judge.

The original case was from July 2005 from three former trafficked Mali children in the 1990s that were forced to work as slaves on a Cote D'Ivoire chocolate farm. They were identified as John Doe I, II, and III, and they describe their horrific experiences on those farms.

From Confectionery News: "The parties dispute whether corporations can be responsible for aiding and abetting crimes outside the US under the Alien Tort Statue." This statute was adopted in 1789 giving federal courts jurisdiction to hear lawsuits filed by non-U.S. citizens - for torts committed in violation of international law (definition from Center for Justice and Accountability).

Read the full article here:

U.S. chocolate manufacturers would forgo buying cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire if a case against three major cocoa processors succeeds, warns a dissenting judge.

The Big Gateaux Show at The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience 2015

Get ready - The Big Gateaux Show is coming up inside The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience 2015 held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, May 20-24th. The Gateaux Show will be held at The Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. Must be 21 for all events at this food festival.

From the site:

A pastry competition full of scintillating displays of burlesque, pastries and cocktails features celebrity chefs and judges alongside Burlesque starlets, Trixi Minx and Bella Blue. Join this after-party following the Friday Night Grand Tasting and chose your favorite delight. The winning design and pastry chef will be awarded a $5000 prize sponsored by Swiss Chalet. This ticketed event is a sell out every year!
Fun times for all. :)

Info: The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

More Pictures From Past Events


NCA (National Confectioners Association), Child Labor, and the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015

According to The Hill, the NCA (National Confectioners Association) wants to end any notion they support a trade loophole that enables certain importing of goods made of child or slave labor - if the demand for the product is there and supports it.

The Senate recently voted to approve a currency bill that would penalize countries that manipulate their currencies - and in it is a provision that would remove a loophole for forced labor that is in place for certain goods coming into the U.S. - the cocoa commodity being one of them.

And while the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 encompasses a great deal more, Human Rights First, as well as well as the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, is lauding the smaller provisions.

From Human Rights First:
Human Rights First today welcomed the Senate’s passage of section 912 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 ( S. 1269), a provision to strengthen prohibitions on the importation of goods produced by forced labor slavery.
The statement from ATEST and endslaveryandtrafficking.org:
The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) strongly supports section 912 of S. 1269, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. This provision strengthens existing authority to prohibit the importation of goods made with forced, prison, or other exploitative labor. The Act removes a pernicious exception to this existing authority that allows for the importation of such goods if there is a “consumptive demand” for them. 

Child labor, human trafficking, and slave labor has been a hidden, ongoing problem with the cocoa industry, notably on the Ivory Coast of Africa. It remains to be seen whether this small provision will have a major impact - and a positive change - on bringing an end to child labor in the confectionery supply chains.



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