Posted: 11:57 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013
Nov. 7, 2013 -- The FDA announced Thursday that it is taking steps that will all but eliminate artery-clogging trans fats in processed foods.
The agency is proposing to call partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of trans fats, as “not generally recognized as safe” for use in food.
Although many food makers have removed trans fats from their products in recent years, they are still found in some processed foods, such as margarine, microwave popcorn, and some desserts.
Eating high amounts of trans fats has been linked to heart disease.
“While consumption of potentially harmful artificial trans fat has declined over the last 2 decades in the United States, current intake remains a significant public health concern,” says FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, in a statement.
Hamburg says eliminating trans fats could prevent “an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year.”
Trans fats have appeared as an ingredient on nutrition labels since 2006. Since that time, the amount Americans eat has gone down from 4.6 grams a day in 2003 to about 1 gram a day in 2012, the FDA says.
The independent Institute of Medicine says trans fats have no health benefits and shouldn’t be eaten in any amount.
The ban only applies to artificial trans fats, not those found naturally in small amounts in butter, some meats, and other foods.
The agency will allow a 60-day comment period on the measure.
WebMD will bring you more information as it develops.