Iowa Public Television


KFC Makes A Trans-ition

posted on November 3, 2006

Increased demand for ethanol has fueled a "railroad renaissance" over the past few years, but the industry is enduring some growing pains. The vast majority of the renewable fuel travels from producers in the Midwest to markets along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts either by truck, barge or railroad. Since railroads are the primary transporters of ethanol, new terminals capable of handling the raw product are being constructed by some of the nation's largest railways including Norfolk Southern, and the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe companies. Increased shipping capacity is especially welcome news for corn growers, since harvest-time railcar shortages often are a problem for processors and, consequently, farmers. Soybean producers also received a shot in the arm this week, when Colonel Sanders decided to eliminate trans-fats.
KFC Makes A Trans-ition Early this week, the people who "do chicken right," announced a change to their "secret recipe." KFC, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, announced Monday that it will be replacing partially hydrogenated soybean oil with trans-fat free oil in all of its 5,500 restaurants. The new oil, a low linolenic soybean oil, was chosen after two years of research. According to KFC, customers were not aware of a change in restaurants that were used to test the trans-fat free oil.

KFC isn't the only fast food chain moving towards a trans-fat free future. Wendy's International Inc. already has switched to a zero-trans fat oil, Burger King Corporation says it has been testing a new trans-fat free oil in some of its restaurants, and fast-food leader McDonald's Corporation announced in 2003 they it intended to switch, but has yet to do so.

In June of this year the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed suit against KFC over its use of hydrogenated oil. According to health experts, the trans-fat in hydrogenated oils raise the artery-clogging cholesterol found to contributes to heart disease. With the announcement that KFC would be switching to a low linolenic soybean oil, the CSPI said they would be withdrawing their lawsuit.

Low-linolenic oil is the result of trait-enhanced soybeans that produce oil with no trans-fats. According to the United Soybean Board, in 2005, farmers planted about 200,000 acres of low linolenic soybean varieties. Nearly a million acres are expected to be planted in 2006 to meet the anticipated demand for low-lin soybean oil and significantly more will be necessary to replace the more than 5 billion pounds of partially hydrogenated soybean oil used annually in the United States. Currently, soybean oil accounts for 80%, or 17.5 billion pounds of the oil consumed in the US, and is the most widely used oil in food production.

Tags: agriculture chickens food news nutrition oil