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FDA Says ‘Companies Have Until 2018 to Remove Trans Fats’

The FDA encourages consumers to look for how much trans fat a product has on the Nutrition Facts label, and consider choosing the products with the lowest amount. (Screenshot/YouTube)
The FDA encourages consumers to look for how much trans fat a product has on the Nutrition Facts label, and consider choosing the products with the lowest amount. (Screenshot/YouTube)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that companies will have until 2018 to remove trans fat from their products. In the announcement, they also said that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS, for use in human food.

“The FDA’s action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans,” said the FDA’s Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, M.D. “This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”

FDA orders elimination of trans fats within the next three years:

According to IFL Science, the FDA required that trans fat be listed on the Nutrition Facts label in January 2006, and many companies voluntarily reduced or eliminated trans fat from their products.

Between 2003 and 2012, the consumption of trans fat dropped by 78 percent, according to the FDA.

There are, however, manufacturers that still use trans fat in many popular processed foods, including some cookies, frozen pies, and microwave popcorn.

Trans fats and partially hydrogenated oil explained:

“Studies show that diet and nutrition play a key role in preventing chronic health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and today’s action goes hand in hand with other FDA initiatives to improve the health of Americans, including updating the nutrition facts label,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in a press release: “This determination is based on extensive research into the effects of PHOs, as well as input from all stakeholders received during the public comment period.”

Q&A: FDA trans fat order:

The cost to implement this action is estimated to be $6 billion; the FDA believes that there will be a saving of $140 billion over 20 years in health care and other costs. Companies can petition the FDA to get approval to use it in their product, but they will have to prove that the use will not cause any public health problems.

There are a lot of groups that are applauding the decision, with the American Heart Association saying in a statement: “The American Heart Association joins the public health community today in celebrating what is truly a historic victory for the nation’s health. After years of advocating for the removal of industrially produced trans fat from the country’s food supply, we couldn’t be more gratified that this day has finally come.”

It has taken a long time for the FDA to act on this, but it is good to see the move. Now, they can move on other important issues.

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