FDA moves to ban trans fats

The Food and Drug Administration has announced a plan to eliminate artificial trans fats from processed foods, including restaurant supplies. Per the regulations announced Tuesday, manufacturers will have three years to remove partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary source of artificial trans fats, from their products.

This transition could require restaurants using these ingredients in fried foods, baked goods and other items to retool their recipes. However, as The Washington Post reports, many restaurants have already done the legwork necessary for compliance.

In the last decade, cities such as New York and Philadelphia have placed bans on artificial trans fats in restaurants, requiring concepts in those locations to make adjustments, and in 2008, California became the first state to introduce a similar ban. 

A number of chains have also taken action against artificial trans fats. McDonald’s has made strides to reduce trans fats in most of its fried menu items, and Chick-fil-A eliminated artificial trans fats from its offerings in 2008.

Efforts by many companies to remove PHOs from their processed foods are already completed or underway, according to the FDA, and the agency expects many to eliminate PHOs prior to the three-year compliance date.

Based on PHOs’ negative impact on cardiovascular health, the FDA has finalized its determination that PHOs are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in human 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," FDA Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, M.D., said in a statement. "This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”

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