In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration required food manufacturers to disclose the amount of Trans Fats in a food product on the Nutrition Facts label, in the hopes of curtailing the use of partially hydrogenated oils, (PHO) in our food supply.
Research and health organizations, such as the American Heart Association have proven trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels, increasing your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
Despite the labeling requirement, by 2015, a substantial number of products still contained PHOs. Therefore, the FDA set June 18, 2018, as the deadline for food manufacturers to eliminate PHO’s completely.
“the Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) has made a final determination that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids (IP-TFA) are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in human food.” (FDA document #80FR34650).
Trans Fat will never be completely gone from food entirely because they occur naturally (but in very small amounts) in meat and dairy products, and in other edible oils.
The 2015 compliance “grace period” allowed food companies to either reformulate products without PHOs and petition the FDA to permit specific uses of PHOs.
Although many food manufacturers have removed PHO’s and Trans Fats (if a product contains <1 gram of Trans Fats, it can be labeled as “zero” on the food label); many products still include these substances.
The FDA estimates that consumption of trans fats fell by 78 percent from 2003 to 2012, and it contends that the labeling rule and subsequent reformulation of foods were important drivers (New York Times).
At the same time, the FDA is denying a food additive petition from the GMA requesting approval for certain limited uses of PHOs.
The agency is extending the compliance date, to June 18, 2019, to stop manufacturing foods with these specific, limited petitioned uses of PHOs, and until Jan. 1, 2021 for these products to work their way through distribution.
Is our food supply safe?
In November 2013, the FDA determined PHOs are not “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use in food.
Just recently the World Health Organization introduced an initiative to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats from foods globally.
So why is the FDA giving manufacturers another year, when admittedly, this change could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year???
I know why….
the FDA claims the elimination of PHO’s would cost the industry about $6 billion to put in effect.
partially hydrogenated oils are cheaper than saturated animal fats to incorporate into our food.
Saturated fats are still an enormous problem in the American diet, and health experts emphasize the governmental policy action should not give consumers a false sense of security.
If you consume a 2,000 caloric diet, you should be eating less than 2 grams of trans fats per day (about 20 calories). And remember trans fats occur in some foods naturally!
What can YOU do to avoid ALL trans fats and PHO’s…
One of the healthiest choices you can make is to use natural unsaturated liquid vegetable oils such as olive, canola, corn, or soy oils.
Incorporate fish into your meal plans. Those highest in reducing bad cholesterol levels are salmon, halibut and Albacore Tuna.
Eat lean meat. Skinless chicken and turkey and pork chops, with the fat trimmed off, are examples of lean meat.
Eat more whole foods, fruits and vegetables, rather than processed foods.
Making simple changes now can lead to a long, healthy life!
How Do You Avoid Trans Fats? Please let me know in the comments below – or share a recipe on my facebook page