FDA proposes phasing out trans fats

The move could help make canned and processed foods healthier.
By Ananth Baliga  |  Updated Nov. 7, 2013 at 2:14 PM
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In a proposal that could prevent future clogged arteries the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed measures to phase out trans fats from food items.

The proposal would declare partially hydrogenated oils, the source for trans fats, are no longer be recognized as safe.

The FDA's proposal is open to public comment for the next 60 days to gain feedback from food manufacturers on potential timelines to reformulate products.

Trans fats have been known to increase the rate of heart disease in the U.S. and it will be very difficult for food companies to prove that eating partially hydrogenated oils is safe, when much of the research on trans fats suggests the opposite.

“That will make it a challenge, to be honest,” said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA.

In 2006 the FDA required trans fats to be listed on food labels, leading many large manufacturers to find substitutes.

But artificial trans fats are only required on the label if there is more than a half gram per serving. As a result, trans fats are still widely used as an additive.

The new rule could end this practice. Food products containing unapproved food additives are considered adulterated and cannot be legally sold in the U.S.

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