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Fred A. Kummerow dies; scientist who warned about trans fats was 102

Scientist Fred Kummerow, above in 2014, sought to

Scientist Fred Kummerow, above in 2014, sought to have trans fats removed from processed food. The University of Illinois professor had been researching the fats since the 1950s. Credit: AP / Rick Danzl

URBANA, Ill. — A University of Illinois professor who spent decades pushing for a federal ban on artery-clogging artificial trans fats has died at age 102.

Family members say Fred A. Kummerow died May 31 at his home in Urbana.

Kummerow was a comparative biosciences professor whose trans fats research dated back to the 1950s.

His efforts to have artificial trans fats removed from processed foods included filing a 2009 petition with the Food and Drug Administration. He also sued the agency in 2013. Two years later, the FDA ordered food companies to phase them out.

University Chancellor Robert Jones called Kummerow a “trailblazer” and “maverick.”

Kay Kummerow said that her father lived a healthy life by example, including exercising regularly. She said he died of “old age.”

The university will host a Sept. 1 memorial service.

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