Bakers Journal

Features Technical
Just Say No to Trans Fat-Free


December 5, 2007
By Michel Suas

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You see it everywhere in the news these days – it seems trans fat is
the latest thing to fear. The FDA lists butter as a “dangerous” product
to consume – in the same category as industrial partially hydrogenated
fat (an ingredient, I for one, would never put in my food.) Sadly, the
bakery industry is now going through a confused rush to respond to the
media panic and comply with the special requests of some large
customers.

suasYou see it everywhere in the news these days – it seems trans fat is the latest thing to fear. The FDA lists butter as a “dangerous” product to consume – in the same category as industrial partially hydrogenated fat (an ingredient, I for one, would never put in my food.) Sadly, the bakery industry is now going through a confused rush to respond to the media panic and comply with the special requests of some large customers. The phrase “trans fat free” is appearing on more and more bakery products as some in the industry scramble to market to the trend.

What troubles me the most is that every time a new wave like this comes along, the baking industry is powerless to resist. Viennoiserie, which was coming back in force with a revived quality, flavour and flakiness, is going down the drain again. The only authenticity remaining for the croissant these days is its shape. Most taste terrible — and the texture? Let’s not go there.

What happened to the times when artisan bakers stood up for the integrity of their products? I realize that in business it is difficult to lose a huge customer who is demanding adherence to the latest trend in food fear. But does this bring value to our bakery products? If end consumers do not appreciate the fresh baked product, they will turn to packaged items such as power bars, crackers, etc., and this always hits the independent retail bakeries the hardest. Let’s respect the customers who actually eat our products!

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The fact is, research has shown that the trans fat from butter is good for your health. If you want more information, you can find it under:

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) at www.fda.gov. I wonder when the media and FDA will focus on artificial products or caffeine as the next health scare? Maybe we should get ready for the gluten-free wave? I don’t want to scare you with salt-free bakery product!

This editorial previously appeared in the San Francisco Baking Institute’s (SFBI) quarterly newsletter, What’s Rising. Michel Suas is the founder of the SFBI, www.sfbi.com.