Frieden’s Next Act: Heart Disease and Preparing for New Epidemics

Eradicating trans fats

Trans fats should be out of our food environment. It increases bad cholesterol and decreases good cholesterol. Just as we are working to eliminate certain diseases, I think we should try to eliminate this toxic product. It wasn’t put in with bad intentions. It prolongs shelf life. But we’re more concerned about human life than shelf life.

Trans fats are hard because you have to ban it and you have to ensure the ban is being complied with. There are about 40 governments that have done that at various levels.

(In 2006, when Dr. Frieden was New York City health commissioner, he led an effort to ban trans fats in the city’s restaurants. Industry resisted.)

There was a sky-is-falling thing. Then McDonald’s came to us and said, ‘O.K., We took it out six months ago. No one can tell the difference. But please don’t tell anyone. Because if they hear…

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