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Ear to the Ground

FDA Moves to Ban Trans Fats

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Posted on Nov 7, 2013
kidicarus222 (CC BY 2.0)

U.S. food safety officials are taking steps to prohibit the use of trans fats in foods, a move they say could prevent 7,000 deaths and 20,000 heart attacks each year.

Also known as partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats are no longer “generally recognized as safe,” the Food and Drug Administration said. The office will open a 60-day consultation period on the plan.

“While consumption of potentially harmful artificial trans fat has declined over the last two decades in the United States, current intake remains a significant public health concern,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement Thursday. “The FDA’s action today is an important step toward protecting more Americans from the potential dangers of trans fat.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

BBC:

If the agency’s plan [is] successful, the heart-clogging oils would be considered food additives and could not be used in food unless officially approved.

The ruling does not affect foods with naturally occurring trans fats, which are present in small amounts in certain meat and dairy products.

Artificial trans fats are used both in processed food and in restaurants as a way to improve the shelf life or flavour of foods. The fats are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil, making it a solid.

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