For years the public has been leery about processed foods containing trans fat, which when consumed in excess can lead to high cholesterol and clogged arteries. Now the Food and Drug Administration is moving towards eliminating trans fat from the American diet.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are two main sources of dietary trans fatty acids (trans fat). Naturally occurring trans fat can be found in meat and dairy products, but it’s the artificial trans fat FDA officials are concerned with. This trans fat comes from foods that contain partially hydrogenated oil and is formed when hydrogen is added to liquid oil turning it into solid fat.
Food manufacturers add this kind of trans fat to their products because it’s cheap and extends the product’s shelf life.
The CDC estimates that by reducing trans fat in the food supply, 7,000 deaths from heart disease could be prevented each year, as well as 20,000 heart attacks.
So now the FDA will determine whether these types of trans fats are generally recognized as safe, and if they’re not would ban the artificial, industrially-produced trans fat in foods. FDA made this information available in a consumer update.
FDA is asking for public input to see how this potential ban would affect small businesses.
While products containing trans fat have been decreasing over the years because of public pressure, there are still many products where it’s found:
- Cookies, crackers, cakes, frozen pies and other baked goods
- Snack foods (microwave popcorn)
- Frozen pizza
- Vegetable shortenings and stick margarines
- Coffee creamers
- Refrigerated dough products (biscuits, cinnamon rolls)
- Ready-to-use frostings