Wednesday, June 17, 2015

FDA Finalizes Ban on Artificial Trans Fats in Processed Foods

On June 16, 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized the determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are not “generally recognized as safe or GRAS for use in human food.” PHOs are the primary source of artificial trans fats in processed foods.

After considering public comments and scientific data, the agency finalized the tentative determination made in 2013. Manufacturers will have three years to comply with the new determination by either reformulating products to remove all PHOs or petitioning the FDA for a specific use of PHOs. After the three year period, PHOs can no longer be added to human food without prior FDA approval.

The ban is aimed at improving the overall heart health of Americans. The FDA expects the action to
“reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.” However, trans fats won’t be completely eliminated from all foods, as they are naturally occurring in meat and dairy products as well as other edible oils.

During the compliance period, the FDA recommends that consumers continue to check nutrition labels and select items that have the lowest amounts of trans fats, as well as checking the ingredients list to ensure the accuracy of a “0 grams trans fat” label.

The determination is open to public comment, and can be found here.

Written by Tyler R. Etter- Research Assistant
June 17, 2015

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