Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is taking action to remove artificial trans fats from the nation’s food supply -- a step that could prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks each year!
Highlights from the FDA announcement include:
- The FDA says that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of trans fats, are not “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use in human food.
- Because PHOs are not GRAS, they may no longer be added to human food after June 18, 2018 unless otherwise approved by the FDA.
- Food manufacturers have three years to remove PHOs from their products. This will allow companies to make the transition -- to either reformulate their products and/or petition the FDA to permit certain specific uses of PHOs.
- Companies have made strides towards reducing or eliminating PHOs and the FDA expects manufacturers may be in compliance ahead of schedule.
- While some companies have made significant progress in voluntarily replacing PHOs with other fats or oils, the current intake of trans fats remains a public health concern.
- Removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year.
- PHOs are formed when hydrogen is added to oil or fat (a process called hydrogenation) to make it more solid.
- The FDA’s requirement in 2006 to list trans fat on the Nutrition Facts label resulted in the industry substantially reducing the presence of artificial trans fat, however trans fats are still found in a variety of foods.
- PHOs are used in a variety of processed foods such as frostings, microwave popcorn, baked goods, stick margarines, and coffee creamers.
To learn more about the FDA’s action on trans fats, visit http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/UCM372915.htm