The US government declared war on artificial fats known as “trans” that are present in almost all processed foods.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils (Phos) in food, considering them a threat to public health. The restriction will be applied gradually over a period of three years.
These oils are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods and are not “Generally Recognized As Safe” or “GRAS” for use in human food.
With the elimination of the very common trans fats in fried foods, industrial pastries and other processed products, the FDA hopes to reduce heart disease and obesity in the United States.
That means companies will have to request permission from the agency to include trans fats to food. Food plants have a period of three years to completely eradicate their use, although the FDA believes the goal could be achieved earlier.
“The FDA action over this important source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment regarding all Americans’ heart health,” said Acting FDA Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Ostroff.
The FDA advises consumers looking to reduce trans fat consumption by consulting the food’s list of ingredients to see whether it contains partially hydrogenated oils. Currently, food can be labeled as “0” trans fat grams if it contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.