Food 03 Jan 2007 06:16 am

Trans Fats Percolate from Starbucks

by Sean Hackbarth

Starbucks muffin

Starbucks (SBUX) is joining Wendy’s, KFC, and Taco Bell and moving away from trans fats in their foods:

Starting Wednesday, all donuts, muffins and other treats sold in half of Starbucks Corp.’s standalone U.S. stores will be completely free of trans fats, the company said.

The world’s largest specialty coffee retailer hopes to cut trans fats from the rest of its U.S. and Canadian stores by the end of the year, spokesman Brandon Borrman said.

“Our focus has always been on providing our customers with healthy and nutritious food options,” he said.

Trans fats, listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, are thought to boost “bad” cholesterol and decrease “good” cholesterol.

The fats have attracted attention from health regulators, most notably in New York, where city officials have approved a ban on trans fats in restaurants and eateries.

Borrman said Starbucks’ move was not prompted by the New York ban. “This is something we’ve been working on, on our own, for a couple of years now,” he said.

Company-owned Starbucks stores in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore. will have zero trans fats in their food as of Wednesday, Borrman said.

Notice the move wasn’t due to New York city health police. It’s the free market at work.

Take the company’s concerns about nutrition with a ground of coffee since they sell lots of calorie-loaded frappuccinos. Then there’s Tammy Bruce’s big-city conspiracy theory.

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