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BOSTON -- Dunkin' Donuts, the food-on-the-go chain whose name celebrates a treat that's symbolic of unhealthy eating, is trying to refresh its image by largely eliminating trans fat across its menu.
Dunkin' planned to announce Monday that it has developed an alternative cooking oil and reformulated more than 50 menu items _ doughnuts included. The Canton, Mass.-based chain says its menu will be "zero grams trans fat" by Oct. 15 across its 5,400 U.S. restaurants in 34 states.
Food companies have also figured out how to manipulate the serving size of foods in order to make it appear that their products are devoid of harmful ingredients like trans fatty acids. The FDA, you see, created a loophole for reporting trans fatty acids on the label: Any food containing 0.5 grams or less of trans fatty acids per serving is allowed to claim ZERO trans fats on the label. That's FDA logic for you, where 0.5 = 0. But fuzzy math isn't the only game played by the FDA to protect the commercial interests of the industry is claims to regulate.
Exploiting this 0.5 gram loophole, companies arbitrarily reduce the serving sizes of their foods to ridiculous levels -- just enough to bring the trans fats down to 0.5 grams per serving. Then they loudly proclaim on the front of the box, "ZERO Trans Fats!" In reality, the product may be loaded with trans fats (found in hydrogenated oils), but the serving size has been reduced to a weight that might only be appropriate for feeding a ground squirrel, not a human being.