The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to further reduce the amount of trans fats in processed foods. The FDA has made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are not “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use in food.
“Consumption of artificial trans fat, a man-made, not naturally occurring substance, increases the risk of coronary heart disease,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters this morning. She says food manufacturers have made great strides in reformulating their products to reduce or eliminate trans fats over the years – but more needs to be done, “It’s particularly important for us to hear from industry during the next 60 days. We need to know how much time would be needed for industry to remove partially hydrogenated oil from processed food products should this preliminary determination be finalized.”
After a 60 day public comment period which starts this Friday, November 8th, Hamburg says the FDA will make a final decision on whether to phase out the use of those man-made oils. Since 2006, the FDA has required food companies to declare the amount of trans fat in foods on product nutrition labels.