FDA fries family's potato chip business with new cooking oil mandates

Back in 1940, Frederick Jones of Mansfield, Ohio, was facing a serious problem. He ran a small company that distributed potato chips, but his suppliers couldn’t keep up with demand.

Jones solved the problem the entrepreneurial way: he bought potatoes and oil, along with some basic equipment, and starting making his own chips to sell. He kept right on doing it, making his signature wavy cut chips for more than 40 years before turning the company over to his kids in 1986, when he retired.

Not much has changed in potato chip technology over the years. It’s still as simple as peeling, slicing, frying, salting and packaging.

At least, it was, until the federal government got involved.

By the end of this year, Jones’ will stop making their wavy chips because new rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made it impossible to get the type of cooking oil that gives the chips their distinctive flavor. That oil, partially hydrogenated cooking oil, is no longer considered safe for consumption, according to rules the FDA published last June.

“It is disappointing that we will have to change a product that we have been making for seventy years; however, we are optimistic that many of our local customers will enjoy our new products and continue to support us,” Bob Jones, president of the company, said in a statement announcing the changes to their products.

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