Up until now, the FDA has deemed trans fat to be “GRAS” — Generally Regarded As Safe. Well, those days may be numbered. Medpage Today reports that the federal food and drug agency is moving to “eliminate partially hydrogenated oils — the main dietary source of artificial trans fat — in processed foods.”
Why? According to the FDA website:
Trans fat has been linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, in which plaque builds up inside the arteries and may cause a heart attack.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a further reduction of trans fat in the food supply can prevent an additional 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year and up to 20,000 heart attacks each year.
In its inimitable bureaucrat-ese, the FDA website explains what today’s action means:
If FDA determines that PHOs are not GRAS, it could, in effect, mean the end of artificial, industrially-produced trans fat in foods, says Dennis M. Keefe, Ph.D., director of FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety. FDA is soliciting comments on how such an action would impact small businesses and how to ensure a smooth transition if a final determination is issued.
And here’s more from the Medpage Today story:
On the basis of a review of scientific evidence and findings from expert panels, the agency made a preliminary determination that the oils “are not generally recognized as safe for use in food” and should be eliminated, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, said on a conference call with reporters.
The decision “is very welcome and strongly supported by massive scientific evidence that trans fat has many adverse effects on health,” Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said in an email to MedPage Today. “Trans fat has no place on the table, and this step will help make the diets of Americans safer.” Continue reading