BEEF Daily

Could Beef Be Banned Like Trans Fats?


Beef’s nutritional profile should trump any attacks from the government about beef being bad for your health. However, FDA’s recent move to ban trans fats has many worried that an attack on beef could be next. 

I would like to respond to and reiterate some points made by Troy Marshall in his most recent column, “Eliminating Trans Fats -- What This Means For Beef Producers.”

The column centered on FDA’s plans, announced last week, to require the food industry to gradually phase out all trans fats, which previously had fallen into the agency's "generally recognized as safe" category. This is a category reserved for thousands of additives that manufacturers can add to foods without FDA review. FDA says such a move could prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year and 7,000 deaths.

In a nutshell, Marshall's column warned beef producers that if beef was to one day be deemed as unhealthy by the government, then it would go to the wayside much like soda, trans fats, cigarettes and sodium. Imagine if that happened to the beef industry; such a pronouncement would put the beef industry in a world of hurt. Is it likely? Probably not anytime soon, but we must be vigilant about the potential.


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Unlike trans fats, however, beef has an entire nutritional profile that’s hard to beat. What exactly are trans fats? According to the American Heart Association (AHA), trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. They're used both in processed food and in restaurants. Another name for trans fats is 'partially hydrogenated oils.' Look for them on the ingredients list on food packages.

What about beef? It’s not made via an industrial process. It’s a whole food and one that offers a nutritional power punch like nothing else. I recently attended a cooking demonstration put on by the AHA, Avera Heart Hospital and the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) for National Eating Healthy Day. The demo showcased beef and the heart-healthy ways it can be prepared, and featured recipes such as roast beef and garlic kale.

“For many years, people thought beef wasn’t healthy, but with emerging research such as the BOLD (Beef In An Optimal Lean Diet) study, we now know that’s not true,” said Holly Swee, SDBIC director of nutrition and consumer information. “When shopping for beef, an easy way to choose a lean cut is to look for items with ‘round’ or ‘loin’ on the label.”

The BOLD study Swee referred to was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers from Penn State University found that people who participated in the BOLD study and consumed lean beef daily as part of a heart-healthy diet, experienced a 10% decline in LDL "bad" cholesterol.

Additionally, beef’s fatty profile is heart-healthy; 51% of the fat found in beef is mono-unsaturated, the same heart-healthy fats found in olive oil. What’s more, beef is packed with nutrients like zinc, iron, protein and the B vitamins. It’s a complete protein and can keep folks satiated for longer periods of time, which means they're less likely to snack on junk food like chips and cookies, both of which contain trans fats.

However, instead of fear-mongering that Big Government is going to smear the beef industry (although I’m afraid they’ve been doing this since the 1970s when fat was demonized), we should be focused on re-educating the public that beef can be the center of a healthy dinner plate. Feel free to share this information via social media and help spread the word. Beef is nothing like trans fats. Period.

What do you think about the FDA’s proposed ban on trans fats? Could this translate to the beef industry? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 6

Gene Schriefer (not verified)
on Nov 20, 2013

Marshalls off his rocker once again.

Banning a food additive is not the same as banning a food item. He's using his typical fear mongering smear campaign that any action by the government is a bad action.

Science and research change our knowledge and understanding over time. While trans fats appeared safe, research has led to new insights that have led the FDA to become concerned enough about this to ban them.

Trans fats are widely used and the consumer has to read every label. not a bad thing, but most don't. They most often to not realize which food products it is incorporated into. If a consumer believe beef were unhealthy, they simply skip over it.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 20, 2013

They can sure make life difficult! Look what they have done to the coal industry when you are in the sites of their cause. There appears to be no middle ground it ia all or none.

on Nov 20, 2013

As usual the wheels of the FDA move too slowly. Partly because they tend to hold on to 50 - 60 year old government policy that was seriously flawed, but also because they don't work for "us", but for industry's who make a lot of money selling products that are bad for our health.
The only reason that they are taking a stand on trans fats is because they are the target of a lawsuit by Dr. Fred Kummerow.

"The lawsuit, Kummerow vs US Food and Drug Administration et al,16 was filed August 9, 2013 with the Illinois Central District Court. Listed defendants include Kathleen Sebelius, Michael M Landa, US Dept of Health and Human Services, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Margaret Hamburg, and the FDA.

According to an August 13, 2013 report by,17 Dr. Kummerow “is seeking a judgment declaring that the FDA’s failure to ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils... and its delay in issuing a final response to his 2009 petition, violate the Administrative Procedure Act and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.” Dr. Kummerow also sought “an order compelling the FDA to respond to his petition and to ban partially hydrogenated oils ‘unless a complete administrative review finds new evidence for their safety.’”

Considering the fact that evidence of trans fat safety is scant to say the least, it appears the FDA had little choice but to do what it should have done years ago, which is address a well-known toxin in the food supply. It’s just too bad that they have to be sued in order to do their job. According to a report by the St. Louis Dispatch"
For more details check out:

Countries that use more beef tallow and other saturated fats as opposed to vegetable oils and trans fats, have far less incidences of heart disease and cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 20, 2013

I have wondered why the industry started adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oil to make it more solid at the same time the FDA was telling the American public that lard was harmful to their health. The extra chemicals that are added to most items of prepared foods are unbelieveable, the chemicals names require a degree in chemistry to pronounce the names. In the 70s, so called health professionals decided that eggs, milk products, all fats, and meats were harmful for food consumption and lots of people believed every word that was said and printed. Several years later,, sanity returned and the information was that the human body needed these foods for good health.
Beef is a food in its self without additives and I believe that the public would rebel if their meat sources were curtailed.
The public can't live without hamburgers[not veggie burgers] and fries. Steaks are a main course for most families. It is the American way. Don't mess with my meat.

Terry Church (not verified)
on Nov 20, 2013

Beware! With the government basically controlling your healthcare, they can also control what you eat and how much. What I mean by this is, if the government healthcare system says to maintain a certain insurance you must eat a certain diet recommended by them, then you must do it to stay at that level. Think about it folks, if the government controls your healthcare and your diet they control you. In some states they already tell people how much soda they get at a restaurant. Look at how they controlled the school lunch programs by telling them what they could serve and how much. What's stopping them from telling you what you can and cannot eat in the future.

on Nov 20, 2013

I'm not against guidelines that are realistic and are for the good of all. But the guidelines are wrong mostly because of the control the food industry has of the FDA. The corruption of the FDA and related government organizations in their dealings with the food industry is astounding. If you don't believe it, do some research on your own.

If we had a truly honest and concerned FDA, it would be great. But unfortunately they are held accountable politically, not ethically, so corruption is a given, not a choice.

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What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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