FDA moves to ban trans fats
‘No safe level for consumption’
by Pinedale Online!
November 7, 2013
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a release today (Thursday, Nov. 7th) that it is proposing new requirements to completely eliminate artificial trans fats in the United States food supply. Trans fats are used both in processed food and in restaurants, often to improve the texture, shelf life or flavor of foods. The fats are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid, which are often called partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). The FDA has made a preliminary determination that PHOs are no longer "generally recognized as safe". A Federal Register notice was published on November 7, 2013 announcing the preliminary determination and opened a 60-day public comment period.
Partially hydrogenated oils have been linked to causing plaque build-up in arteries, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease which could lead to a heart attack. In 2006, the FDA began requiring that food packaging declare the amount of trans fat on Nutrition Facts labels. Many food manufacturers have already significantly reduced the amount of PHOs used in their products, and health-conscious people are paying closer attention to the foods they eat to reduce their consumption of PHOs.
According to the FDA, "PHOs are found in many popular processed foods, like baked goods and frozen foods that time-crunched Americans use to feed their families. They have been widely used as ingredients since the 1950s to increase the shelf-life and flavor stability of foods."
A new ruling banning trans fats would impact the food industry for items such as:
• crackers, cookies, cakes, frozen pies and other baked goods
• snack foods (such as microwave popcorn)
• frozen pizza
• vegetable shortenings and stick margarines
• coffee creamers
• refrigerated dough products (such as biscuits and cinnamon rolls)
• ready-to-use frostings
If the FDA makes a final determination to completely ban PHOs, the food industry would be required by law to figure out a way to completely phase out the use of PHOs over time.