November 8, 2013

FDA takes step to further reduce trans fats in processed foods

Posted in: Health and Nutrition, Latest News

Trans fat intake has been associated with coronary heart disease and macular degeneration*

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans
fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in food.

The agency has opened a 60-day comment period on this preliminary determination to collect additional data and to gain input on the time potentially needed for food manufacturers to reformulate products that currently contain artificial trans fat should this determination be finalized.

Consumption of trans fat raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. The independent Institute of Medicine (IOM)has concluded that trans fat provides no known health benefit and that there is no safe level of consumption of artificial trans fat. Additionally, the IOM recommends that consumption of trans fat should be as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet.

In recent years, many food manufacturers and retailers have voluntarily decreased trans fat levels in many foods and products they sell. Trans fat can be found in some processed foods, such as certain desserts, microwave popcorn products, frozen pizzas, margarines and coffee creamers. Numerous retailers and manufacturers have already demonstrated that many of these products can be made without trans fat.

The FDA’s preliminary determination regards only PHOs and does not affect trans fat that naturally occurs in small amounts in certain meat and dairy products.

More information about trans fat and information the FDA is seeking is available through a Federal Register notice. The docket will be open for comment for 60 days.

To submit comments by mail, send to the FDA at:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

All submissions must include the agency name and docket number.

For more information:

*Chong EW, et al. Fat consumption and its association with age-related macular degeneration.(Arch Ophthalmol. 2009 May;127(5):674-80. doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2009.60.)

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