The public radio program Here and Now recently asked Corby Kummer, a food writer and senior editor for The Atlantic, whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) move to revoke the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status for trans fat lays the groundwork for the agency to take a similar action against the use of added sugar in beverages and other products. During the November 18, 2013, interview, Kummer highlighted the history of the movement to prohibit trans fat, linking local restrictions such as those implemented by New York City to the growing public awareness that trans fats "were harmful at any level."
"I think it’s going to be a model for the way soda consumption can be limited in the public, which we certainly need to do," explained Kummer. "It took a long time for scientific consensus to build. And at the beginning, the industry mercilessly exploited any trace of ambiguity in the science, which they have been trying to do with sugar and sodas for a long time. Ambiguity is the friend to industry. But eventually ambiguity just faded."
Kummer noted that public health advocates such as the Harvard School of Public Health’s Walter Willett, "who long ago led the charge against trans fats," are now urging FDA to set safe levels of added sugars in drinks. "And what I think is the scientific consensus is going to build so that it’s really irrefutable and there’s nothing industry can do," Kummer concluded. "Industry is very smart. They know what’s coming. And so what they’re doing while lobbying against every kind of regulation that could possibly restrict the amounts of sugar—I mean, high-fructose corn syrup but it’s all sugar, so it’s all forms of sugar—in sodas is they’re formulating dozens and dozens of different kinds of beverages with lower amounts of sugar. What advocates like CSPI, Centers [sic] for Science in the Public Interest, would really like is much less sugar in every drink."