FDA To Ban Trans Fats

Friday, November 8, 2013
Heather

Easy

Heart-clogging trans fats have been slowly disappearing from grocery aisles and restaurant menus in the last decade. Now, the Food and Drug Administration is finishing the job.

The FDA plans to announce later Thursday that it will require the food industry to gradually phase out all trans fats, saying they are a threat to people's health. Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the move could prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year and 7,000 deaths.

Hamburg said that while the amount of trans fats in the country's diet has declined dramatically in the last decade, they "remain an area of significant public health concern." The trans fats have long been criticized by nutritionists, and New York and other local governments have banned them.

The agency isn't yet setting a timeline for the phase-out, but will collect comments for two months before officials determine how long it will take. Different foods may have different timelines, depending how easy it is to substitute.

"We want to do it in a way that doesn't unduly disrupt markets," says Michael Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods. Still, he says, "industry has demonstrated that it is by and large feasible to do."

To phase them out, the FDA said it had made a preliminary determination that trans fats no longer fall in the agency's "generally recognized as safe" category, which is reserved for thousands of additives that manufacturers can add to foods without FDA review. Once trans fats are off the list, anyone who wants to use them would have to petition the agency for a regulation allowing it, and that would be unlikely to be approved.

Though they have been removed from many items, the fats are still found in processed foods, including some microwave popcorns and frozen pizzas, refrigerated doughs and ready-to-use frostings. They are also sometimes used by restaurants that use the fats for frying. Many larger chains have phased them out, but smaller restaurants may still get trans fats from suppliers.

As a result of the local and federal efforts, consumers have slowly eaten fewer of the fats. According to the FDA, trans fat intake among American consumers declined from 4.6 grams per day in 2003 to around one gram per day in 2012.

FDA officials say they have been working on trans fat issues for around 15 years — the first goal was to label them — and have been collecting data to justify a possible phase out since just after President Barack Obama came into office in 2009.

You can check out more about this story here.

Disclaimer

Tags:

About Mamas Spot

We are a family of four that left it all behind to go travel the world. No, literally we left it all. We sold all of our possessions, packed what we could into four suitcases and said goodbye to suburban life. All we own is now pulled behind us as we travel to new and exciting destinations. Showing our kids the world and teaching them about new cultures, food, and ways of life is now our 9-5.

We love watching our kids learn, and learning along side them. Together we have now explored many new countries, visited family on the other side of the world, and made memories that will last a lifetime.

Welcome to our journey!