FDA to burn fat

Back to Article
Back to Article

FDA to burn fat

Andres Martinez

Andres Martinez

Andres Martinez

Valerie Herrera, Staff Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration moved to ban artificial trans fats found in some of American’s favorite foods. So what does this mean for UTEP’s upcoming eatery?

The soon-to-be-named Union cafeteria, expected to open in the fall of 2015, had already launched a preview to their menu, which offers a variety of international cuisines, a Mongolian grill and American comfort foods such as soups, salads, sandwiches, desserts, burgers and fries.

However, in effort to provide healthier products for consumers, the FDA noted that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary source of artificial trans fats in processed foods, are no longer recognized as safe for use in food.

“The FDA’s action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans,” said FDA’s Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, M.D. in a recent press release. “This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”

Under the new policy, food manufacturers, restaurants and other food companies such as grocery stores will have until June 18, 2018 to completely remove PHOs from their inventory.

When asked whether this move will affect the food items that the UTEP eatery will serve, Adriana Ruiz, food services operation manager said, “not really.”

“Food manufacturers are primarily responsible for removing the artificial trans-fat found in their products from which we order from, so students, faculty and staff can expect to see the same foods options originally planned with the exception that now they will contain healthier ingredients,” Ruiz said.

Though many manufacturers have already worked on removing trans fat from their foods, many products such as pizza, fried foods, baked goods and pre-mixed products still may contain the unhealthy ingredients.

According to the FDA’s new rule, they based their decision on available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels that established the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat.

UTEP, however, has remained committed to providing a healthier food selection by offering more vegetarian and gluten-free options for students once the new eatery is complete.

Sodexo, UTEP’s food service management company, has overseen the university’s concessions since 2001, and has specialized in crafting recipes with a nutritious mix of ingredients as well as offering educational resources to promote positive lifestyle habits.

Studies conducted by two UTEP professors, who have done extensive research in nutrition, health and food insecurity, Dr. Meg Weigel, professor and director of the Master of Public Health program, and Rodrigo X. Armijos, associate professor for the College of Health Sciences, show that a healthier food supply is critical in supporting good health and reducing chronic disease related to poor nutrition, obesity and the lack of food.

Jessica Mendoza, junior business major, hopes the new FDA policy will get people thinking about their health and what they consume.

“Ultimately, the responsibility lands on the consumer. So I’m excited to know that the eatery will offer additional healthy food options to choose from,” Mendoza said. “Now I won’t have to drive outside campus during breaks between classes just to look for a good place to eat.”

Valerie Herrera may be reached at [email protected]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email