Battered Food Police and the Battle Against Trans Fats

The food fascists are every where. It’s one thing for New York City to ban trans fats from city restaurants. But for the Great Indiana State Fair to do so is pure sacrilege.

One might view this as a nod to making a healthier America, except for the fact that the foods served at the fair are decidedly–and thankfully–unhealthy. Reports the New York Times:

The deep-fried Combo Plate may be a little more healthful this year at the Great Indiana State Fair. So say the fair’s leaders, who, taking a step rarely seen in the realm of corn dogs and fried pickles, have banned oils with trans fats from all the fryers that line the grounds here.

Jeremy Orme’s stand is the home of the Combo Plate: a Snickers, two Oreos and a Reese’s, all battered and deep-fried.

The change is only the latest in a string of bans on artificial trans fats. Tied to health problems including heart disease, they have been banished by national restaurant chains, snack brands and New York City, which forbids restaurants to use them in food preparation.

But this is perhaps the most unlikely locale yet: the nation’s classic summer fair, long seen as one final safe haven from the health police.

I will admit that I’ve never understood the principle of deep-frying, say, an Oreo cookie. I prefer my chocolate straight. But I really don’t understand the principle of frying your Oreo in non-trans fat oil. Somehow, I don’t think that the new prohibition did much to lower the chance of Mr. Ryan Howell, for instance, to contract heart disease. As the Times reports:

“This is a slice of heaven,” said Ryan Howell, 31, as he cradled his Combo Plate, which, for the record, consists of one battered Snickers bar, two battered Oreos and a battered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup — all deep-fried in oil that is trans-fat free, thank goodness.

Yes, thank goodness. Just imagine the shame of living in an America where people could choose to have their battered Oreos, Snickers, and Reese’s candies fried in trans fat-full oil. It’s horrifying to contemplate.