The FDA Wants to Ban Berger Cookies, the World's Most Delicious Dessert

The FDA may soon kill off the world’s most delicious
dessert—Baltimore’s own Berger Cookies. Please believe I make this
claim as one who is not otherwise overly enamored of sweets.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure, we’re talking fudge
slathered over a shortbread cookie to rapturous effect.

If you are one who feels another dessert has a better claim to
distinction, know that it doesn’t matter. Whatever you’re into will
be banned too if it contains artificial trans fats, which the FDA
may decide to outlaw as soon as January.

Berger Cookies, whose recipe has been only slightly modified
since the 1830s, are obviously not healthy. But they are one of
life’s little pleasures, and the law that criminalizes them is an
ass. A tremendous, giant donkey and/or posterior. Of evil.

Capital News Service

In the past two weeks, the Berger Cookie bakery has made two
attempts to produce the cookies without trans fat, said owner and
president Charles DeBaufre, Jr. The result was discouraging, he

“We’ve tried it and trust me, it is nasty. It doesn’t taste
right,” DeBaufre said. “The texture’s not there. It’s an entirely
different product.”

Trans fats are essential to the taste and flavor of the cookie,
DeBaufre said. If the ban goes into effect, he said he would apply
for an exception. If the bakery is denied an exception, he said he
would continue to test out new recipes or “go out of business, one
of the two.”

As Baylen Linneken
noted earlier
this month, the FDA claims a ban may prevent
between 3,000 and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year. But
evidence for this proposition is equivocal at best. New York City
banned trans fats in 2006, and the heart disease mortality rate
fell. But, says Linneken, it fell faster in the rest of the
country—where trans fats are still freely available—over the same

The FDA further claims the benefits of prohibiting trans fats
would dwarf the costs. But there is no way they could know that. As
they acknowledge (PDF),
their estimates do not include losses to consumers who find
themselves unable to obtain foods they once enjoyed.

This loss will be particularly acute for those who live near or
hail from Baltimore, where Berger Cookies are a revered commodity.
But the ban will also affect frozen pizzas, microwave popcorn,
donuts, and no doubt other local amuse-bouches. 

The nation already has an ample supply of actual, terrifying
public health crises like antibiotic-resistant
and critical
drug shortages
. It would be nice if the agency that professes
to protect us from such perils would leave. The cookies. Alone.
People can decide what to eat for themselves.

The FDA is accepting
public comments
through January 7th.

from Hit & Run

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