FDA Moves to Effectively Ban Artificial Trans Fats
The US Food and Drug Administration has proposed a regulatory change that would all but eliminate artificial trans fats by ruling them no longer “generally recognized as safe.” Since 2006, the agency has required labeling of products containing more than half a gram per serving of artificial trans fats, made by partially hydrogenating vegetable oils. Trans-fat intake dropped sharply, but the rate of decline has recently leveled off as the fats have continued to be used in some baked goods and packaged products like microwave popcorn.
“The artery is still half-clogged,” commented Thomas R. Frieden, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This is about preventing people from being exposed to a harmful chemical that most of the time they didn’t even know was there.”
Research has shown that trans fats both raise “bad” LDL cholesterol and reduce “good” HDL cholesterol. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is no safe level of consumption. A comment period on the proposed change closes in early January, after which the agency will determine how quickly food companies would have to remove trans fats.