As of September 2018, Canadian food manufacturers were no longer allowed to formulate their products using Partially Hydrogenated vegetable Oils (PHO’s). Suppliers of fats and oils, like Bank Brothers Sustainable Ingredients now cannot sell cooking oils or shortening to the food service industry if they contain PHO’s. PHO’s were introduced to the public in 1911 with the marketing by Proctor and Gamble of Crisco. The name Crisco was derived from “crystallized corn oil”. Corn oil is liquid at room temperature so this limits its use as a shortening where you need to blend solid ingredients prior to baking. Partial hydrogenation of liquid vegetable oils was used as a technique to solidify not only corn oil but also soybean oil. These crystallized oils then found their way into the world’s food chain by imitating the properties of lard and palm oil which are naturally solid at room temperature.

However, when you hydrogenate vegetable oils, the fats produced are not the same as the fat made naturally by animals in their bodies or naturally grown in the flesh or mesocarp of the palm fruit. The fats produced by hydrogenation are called trans-fats. One early researcher on analyzing trans-fats using a gas chromatograph described trans-fats as an “almost hopelessly complex” mixture of known and unknown fatty acids.

It turns out our bodies considered trans-fat “hopelessly complex” too. Instead of metabolizing trans-fats as was the case with natural fats, trans-fats accumulated in the tissues and organs of human beings and were not converted to useful compounds to produce the many substances we need to sustain life. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Fred A. Kummerow who almost single-handedly continued to carry on research and was finally able to convince the FDA that trans-fats produced by hydrogenation should not be in the human diet.

Bank Brothers Sustainable Ingredients applauds his efforts and would like to point out that our products, particularly the wide range of beef tallow, pork lard, and vegetable oils, are never hydrogenated and contain only the natural fats from animal and vegetable sources that our bodies have been consuming over thousands of years.