Long John Silver’s has now joined the bandwagon of fast food restaurants attempting to clean up their act by removing trans fat and unhealthy meals from their menus. This is coming from the fast food restaurant that developed a meal that eventually became known as “heart attack on a hook” — the Big Catch platter, which contains 33 grams of trans fat in one sitting.
“We are very pleased to improve the health profile of our entire menu and transition all of our fried products to trans-fat-free soybean oil,” Mike Kern, the company’s chief executive officer, said in a news release. “Whether choosing delicious baked or our classic batter-dipped fried fish, our guests can order with the confidence that their food has zero grams of trans fat.”
In November of last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to ban partially hydrogenated oils in all manufactured foods. The FDA noted that trans fat could no longer be “generally recognized as safe,” and thus many food manufacturers would have to remodel their food development process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that reducing trans fat in foods could save up to 7,000 people from dying from heart disease — and up to 20,000 heart attacks per year. Indeed, plenty of research has linked trans fat to heart disease. “The scientific evidence is clear — eating food with trans fat increases production of ‘bad’ cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease,” the American Heart Association told CNN.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nutrition and health policy watchdog group, last year stated that Long John Silver’s had the “worst restaurant meal in America.” Jeff Cronin, CSPI’s director of communications, noted that the Big Catch platter meal actually surpassed any food out there when it came to trans fat servings; it exceeded two weeks’ worth of maximum daily intakes recommended by the American Heart Association. However, after Long John Silver’s adjusted its menu, CSPI’s executive director Michael F. Jacobson gave the fast food restaurant some credit. “We were glad to work collaboratively with Long John Silver’s leadership team and are pleased that the company achieved its ambitious goal in six months’ time,” Jacobson said in a news release.
Removing trans fat items from their menu is just one of several steps Long John Silver's is taking to "revamp" their menu and image. For example, the company plans to add the Crab Cake Sandwich to a "Good For You" menu, along with several other meals and soups. “It’s great news and a big step on their journey to revitalize the brand overall,” Gary Gerdemann, PR for the company, told NPR in an email.