The FDA announced last night that they plan to phase out trans fat derived from partially hydrogenated oils in foods sold in the U.S. (This ruling is in regards to partially hydrogenated oils and does not affect trans fat that naturally occurs in small amounts in certain meat and dairy products.)
Their preliminary determination found that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in food and that “further reduction in the amount of trans fat in the American diet could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year – a critical step in the protection of Americans’ health,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.
Nearly a decade ago, the FDA implemented new labeling laws that included listing trans fat and since then many companies have been phasing them out of their foods; however, some processed foods such as ready-to-use frostings, microwave popcorns or pre-made doughs, still contain PHOs.
Because this initial ruling has been in effect for almost a decade, some industry experts expect that six months to a year should be enough time for manufacturers to make the change; however no timeline has yet been established by the FDA.
The agency has opened a 60-day comment period to collect information and input on the time needed for food manufacturers to reformulate products that currently contain PHOs / artificial trans fat.
More information is available on the Federal Register notice or to submit comments by mail, send to:
Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852