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Fred Kummerow linked trans fats to heart disease and helped convince the FDA to ban them. | University of Illinois

Fred Kummerow, U. of I. prof fought for trans fats ban, dead at 102

SHARE Fred Kummerow, U. of I. prof fought for trans fats ban, dead at 102
SHARE Fred Kummerow, U. of I. prof fought for trans fats ban, dead at 102

URBANA — Fred A. Kummerow, a University of Illinois biochemist who spent decades in an ultimately successful effort to win a federal ban on artery-clogging artificial trans fats, has died at 102.

He died Wednesday at his home in Urbana of “old age,” said his daughter Kay Kummerow.

Mr. Kummerow, a comparative biosciences professor, had been doing research on the health effects of trans fats as far back as the 1950s.

His efforts to have trans fats removed from processed foods included filing a 2009 petition with the federal Food and Drug Administration — he began it by saying, “I request to ban partially hydrogenated fat from the American diet” — and suing the agency in 2013. Two years later, the FDA ordered food companies to phase them out.

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University Chancellor Robert Jones called Mr. Kummerow “a maverick and a trailblazer” whose work helped transform the American diet.

In addition to writing academic books, he was the author of the popular books “Cholesterol Won’t Kill You, But Trans Fat Could” and “Cholesterol is Not the Culprit: A Guide to Preventing Heart Disease.”

Kay Kummerow said Friday that her father lived a healthy life by example, including exercising regularly.

Mr. Kummerow is also survived include another daughter, Jean; a son, Max; three granchildren and a great-grandson.

The university is planning a Sept. 1 memorial service.

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