Tyson to Remove Trans Fats From Products

SPRINGDALE, Ark. - Tyson Foods, Inc., the world's biggest meat processor, announced yesterday its intention of removing trans fats from its fully cooked retail products. Tyson said that trans fats would additionally be eliminated from "child nutrition"-labeled school foodservice products.

The initiative began this week with breaded chicken products and will be phased in through May, according to a company press release. Tyson said that tests revealed no taste difference between products with trans fats and trans-fat-free items.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a new rule in July requiring trans fat content to be disclosed on food labels. The rule will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2006, to permit food processors to deplete current stocks and to spare the companies the high costs of huge relabeling projects.

In 2002 the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, which advises the government on health policy, linked trans fat directly to heart disease and so-called "bad" LDL cholesterol.

According to the Department of Agriculture, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which contain trans fats, are in around 40 percent of the food found in supermarkets. Cookies, crackers, and microwave popcorn are highest in trans fats, which are made when hydrogen is put through oil, resulting in a margarine that won't melt at room temperature and increases the shelf life of the product.
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