November 8, 2013
In a preliminary ruling, the Food and Drug Administration has suggested that artificial trans fat is unsafe for eating. As AdAge.com reports, some fast-food companies and makers of processed food began eliminating trans fat after a 2006 labeling requirement, but the FDA’s latest action could push holdouts, including some brands of microwaveable popcorn and frozen pizzas, to change their formulas. The ruling makes a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in food.
Consumption of trans fat in the United States has declined over the last two decades, but “current intake remains a significant public health concern,” FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said in a statement. “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,” she said.
Many processed foods still contain trans fat, “including some snack foods, microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, cakes, cookies, stick margarine products, coffee creamers, pies and ready-to-use icing products,” said Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods. If finalized, then the ruling would still allow food companies to petition the FDA for approval to continue using trans fat, AdAge.com reports. — Greg Beaubien