UNITED STATES—On Tuesday, June 16, the FDA ruled that trans fat is not “generally recognized as safe” for use in human food products. The department of U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave food manufacturers three years to remove trans fat from their products.
Although this order from the FDA has been circulating, there is a way that companies can still use trans fat in their products. If companies wish to do so, they can petition the FDA for a special permit to continue using it, but no PHOs (partially hydrogenated oils) can be added to human food unless otherwise approved by the FDA.
Trans fat and diets that are rich in trans fat are linked to a higher body weight, heart disease and even memory loss. It has been shown to raise unhealthy cholesterol in the blood, which can lead to cardiovascular disease, which is also the leading cause of death in the U.S.
Back in 2013, the FDA had made a tentative determination that trans fats were not safe, which led to a process of years of scientific review. Since 2006, manufacturers have been required to list the use of trans fats on their food labels, causing a significant decrease in the amount of consumption. The process of elimination of the use of trans fat has been on a steady decline over the years, and this decision to eliminate the use of trans fat from all American food seems to be the final step.
Dr. Steven Nissen, chair of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, praised the FDA saying it has, “bold courage, and it deserves a lot of credit for taking this enormously important move. I’m terribly proud of the FDA for stepping in and knowing what needed to be done for the American diet.”