WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- The FDA has determined that trans fats are not fit for human food. They announced Tuesday that food manufacturers in the United States will have three years to remove the artificial ingredients from processed food.
"The FDA's action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency's commitment to the heart health of all Americans," said Stephen Ostroff, M.D., Acting Commissioner for the FDA, in a statement. "This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year."
Partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs are the primary source of trans fats, which keep foods "fresh" longer, resulting in a prolonged shelf life. The FDA warns that consuming trans fats can raise the level of "bad" cholesterol in the blood and can increase the risk of heart disease. Since 2006, the FDA has enforced the mandatory labeling of foods with the ingredient.
Companies have a compliance period of three years during which they must reformulate products made with PHOs. By 2015, no human food products consisting of the ingredient will be sold.
According to the FDA, trans fats can be found in coffee creamer, crackers, cookies, cakes, frozen pies, fast food, frozen pizza, ready-to-use frostings, refrigerated dough (like biscuits or cinnamon rolls), microwave popcorn and vegetable shortenings.