FDA Working On A Plan To Completely Remove Trans Fat From Our Food Supply

While some restaurants proudly tout the lack of artificial trans fat in their menu items and grocery store aisles are peppered with items labeled trans fat free, if the Food and Drug Administration has its way, no one will have trans fat in any food. The FDA has apparently had it up to here with the stuff, and is starting a process that will take trans fat out of our entire food supply.

FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg says the agency is “responding to the fact that the science really demonstrates that trans fat provides no known health benefit and that there really is no safe level of consumption of trans fat,” reports USA Today. “Consumption should be as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet.”

Trans fat, or partially hydrogenated oils, are mostly found in baked goods, canned frosting, margarine, coffee creamers and microwave popcorn, Hamburg explains. It’s used to increase product shelf life and keep flavors stable.

But those flavors come at a cost, say some nutrition experts, including health problems likes a decrease in HDL (good cholesterol) and uptick in LDL cholesterol, which is the bad kind.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5,000 American a year die of heart disease linked to trans fat in the food supply, and a further 15,000 will get heart disease.

Right now it sounds like most people are on board with the idea — and can you think of anyone who really looooves trans fat? — with advocates calling it a “lifesaving” move.

“I think it’s one of the most important lifesaving actions that the FDA could take,” Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C. told USA Today.

For anyone who does want to weigh in on either side of the trans fat line, there will be a 60-day public comment period on the FDA’s plan. If it goes ahead, the FDA will pull trans fat from its list of ingredients that are generally regarded as safe.

It won’t be an immediate switch, warns Hamburg, saying it’s jut the first step in a process that will probably take a few years. You can’t just yank an ingredient and expect food manufacturers to find a replacement at the drop of a trans fat hat.

FDA moves to take trans fat out of food [USA Today]

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  1. fakevegan says:

    That’s all fine and good to eliminate Trans Fat, but it not the “killer” its made out to be by the CDC and Prevention. It’s the saturated fats that is the killer. Look at every label and note the percentage of saturated fats. If one serving is close to 20% of the average daily intake for a person not watching their lipids (100%), then you’re in trouble.

    • SMeierOH says:

      Good Point. The problem is we focus on 1 ‘killer’ thing. Too much of anything can be bad. We need to look at everything we eat and have a balance to our diet.

    • SingleMaltGeek says:

      Wow, you really need to do a little reading on trans fats and saturated fats. Trans fats are empirically much worse for you. I highly recommend following some of the citations on this primer and reading at least the abstracts, if not obtaining the full articles from your local library and reading them.

      http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/transfats/

  2. Terryc says:

    OK yes I HATE that they put it in everything. But do we really need the FDA to ban it. There are so many other things they could work on…Like those supplements you buy at the drugstore or grocery that have zero of the listed ingrediant. Seems that there are better things they could do than nanny us all on foods that are bad.

  3. Laurie333OnlyHalfEvil says:

    The FDA recommended banning antibiotics in food animals in 1977 and still nothing has changed. Antibiotic resistant infections affect a lot more people every year than the number cited above by trans fats. How do we get get this agency to do its job?

    • C0Y0TY says:

      It’s a matter of allowing the FDA to do its job, not getting it to. The FDA has to fight lobbies and people who like their vices for the means to enforce their recommendations. It happened with the tobacco industry and I don’t think the trans-fat industry will be any different.

  4. PhillyDom says:

    Isn’t there somebody, anybody, the media can quote in food safety stories other than the food Nazis at the Center for Science in the Public Interest? If it tastes good or people like it, the CSPI is against it.