Nick Rhoads recently published a piece up at Dane101.com called "Next front in the war on trans-fat? Let's make it Madison"
in which he expresses his desire to have the city ban trans fats. Like Rhoads, I prefer "natural" peanut butter. I think it tastes better because there's no added sugar. But it is here that our agreement ends.
Mr. Rhoads' ability to dictate what foods people eat ends at his own gaping maw. Stop trying to dictate the diets of others. Do I promote the consumption of trans fats? No. What I do promote is the city staying the fuck out of the business of determining what oils restaurants may use. Trans fats or no trans fat, fast food is shite. As the Wisconsin State Journal noted
, people generally can't tell that the trans fats are gone. I suspect banning them will only serve to promote the notion that fast food has somehow been transmogrified into a paragon of healthiness. "Ooh! The trans fats are gone. Now I can eat at McDonalds with a clean conscience." Banning trans fats is not going to make fast food healthy nor discourage people from eating it; and a ban will not make people start exercising nor adopt a healthy lifestyle.
What attempting to ban trans fats will do is distract the city government from other issues that, in my humble judgment, are more important than the types of oil French fries are cooked in. Former mayor Paul Soglin harps on these issues
, such as crime, poverty, and education, constantly. For instance, he notes that "while Madison used to have 1/3 the crime rate of the nation, it is now approaching the national crime rate". Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of the latest prohibition trend from New York City, I would prefer the mayor and the council address these issues before tackling poor self-imposed eating habits. Let's work on crime, poverty, education, etc. first and then we can deal with polishing the facade we put on for Money magazine.
That Mr. Rhoads wants people to be healthy is noble and I certainly cannot take issue with this. However, if he wants to see restaurants stop using trans fats, then he and his fellow crusaders should band together and approach the restaurants. Start a campaign to let establishments know that they should not use trans fats and educate people about the health risks involved. But Mr. Rhoads and people like him need to stop trying to co-opt the city government to enforce their vision of how people should live their lives.
Next front on the war on poverty? Let's make it Madison.