Taher Serving Local Schools To Go Trans Fat Free


8:19 PM Jan 27, 2007

Last Updated: 8:10 AM Jan 28, 2007

Reporter: Dana Brueck

New York city officials voted to ban trans fat. Now, a Minnesota food service company that serves a number of area schools will do away with the unhealthy ingredient in an effort to give children healthier school lunches.

“Food service is fast. Kids are hungry. They want to get their food, then go out and have their social time,” Sheila Killion says.

But is what students slide through the lunch line healthy?

“With school food services, a lot of foods they serve are things fried in trans fat containing oil so it’d be a good thing to switch,” Susan Doyle, a dietitian with St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, says.

Sheila Killion is the food service director for Evansville Schools where you find everything from french fries to fresh fruit.

“The thing is the choices are here so kids get to pick what they like,” she says.

Killion’s employer, Taher Inc., is choosing to eliminate trans fats altogether.

“Our body was never made to absorb all of that man-made fat, so we started this initiative at Taher as well for the well being of our customers,” Taher’s director of wellness and nutrition, Bertrand Weber says.

Taher serves about 200-thousand meals per day, many of them in schools.

“We have a great impact on our customers and half of them don’t have a choice because they’re kids, so it falls on us to make the right choices,” Weber says.

The company’s already eliminated trans fat in its fries, and the oil used to make fries and other potato products is trans fat free.

“I don’t think the kids even know these are trans fat free fries already. They taste the same,” Killion says.

But Taher’s director of wellness and nutrition says the challenge ahead is finding products, such as snack foods, created with healthier oils, instead of trans fat.

“It’s just a question of when the industry can develop the method to have these oils in the foods,” Doyle says.

District Administrator Heidi Carvin faces a different challenge.

“The real challenge is to offer things that students will eat because we don’t want to throw things out,” Carvin says.

Schools already follow federal guidelines on nutrition.

Taher Inc. plans to offer all products free of trans fat by September of next year.

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