No more trans fat: FDA banning the artery-clogger

Organization says prohibition could prevent 7,000 deaths each year
Associated Press
Nov 7, 2013

Heart-clogging trans fats were once a staple of the American diet, plentiful in baked goods, microwave popcorn and fried foods. Now, mindful of the health risks, the Food and Drug Administration is getting rid of what's left of them for good.

Condemning artificial trans fats as a threat to public health, the FDA announced Thursday it will require the food industry to phase them out.

Manufacturers already have eliminated many trans fats, responding to criticism from the medical community and to local laws, Even so, the FDA said getting rid of the rest — the average American still eats around a gram of trans fat a day — could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.

It won't happen right away. The agency will collect comments for two months before determining a phase-out timetable. Different foods may have different schedules, depending how easy it is to find substitutes.

"We want to do it in a way that doesn't unduly disrupt markets," said Michael Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods. Still, he says, the food "industry has demonstrated that it is, by and large, feasible to do."

Indeed, so much already has changed that most people won't notice much difference, if any, in food they get at groceries or restaurants.

Scientists say there are no health benefits to trans fats. And they can raise levels of "bad" cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Trans fats are widely considered the worst kind for your heart, even worse than saturated fats, which also can contribute to heart disease.

Trans fats are used both in processed food and in restaurants, often to improve the texture, shelf life or flavor of foods. Though they have been removed from many items, the fats are still found in some baked goods such as pie crusts and biscuits and in ready-to-eat frostings that use the more-solid fats to keep consistency.

They also are sometimes used by restaurants for frying. Many larger chains have phased them out, but smaller restaurants may still get food containing trans fats from suppliers.

How can the government get rid of them? The FDA said it has made a preliminary determination that trans fats no longer fall in the agency's "generally recognized as safe" category, which covers thousands of additives that manufacturers can add to foods without FDA review. Once trans fats are off the list, anyone who wants to use them would have to petition the agency for a regulation allowing it, and that would likely not be approved.

The fats are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid, which is why they are often called partially hydrogenated oils. The FDA is not targeting small amounts of trans fats that occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, because they would be too difficult to remove and aren't considered a major public health threat on their own.

Many companies have already phased out trans fats, prompted by new nutrition labels introduced by FDA in 2006 that list trans fats and by an increasing number of local laws, like one in New York City, that have banned them. In 2011, Wal-Mart pledged to remove all artificial trans fats from the foods the company sells by 2016. Recent school lunch guidelines prevent them from being served in cafeterias.

In a statement, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it was his city's 2008 ban that led to much of the change. "Our prohibition on trans fats was one of many bold public health measures that faced fierce initial criticism, only to gain widespread acceptance and support," he said.

But support is far from universal. A nationwide poll conducted by the Pew Research Center between Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 said that of the 996 adults surveyed, 44 percent were in favor of prohibiting restaurants from using trans fats while 52 percent opposed the idea.

Still, Americans are eating much less of the fat. According to the FDA, trans fat intake among Americans declined from 4.6 grams per day in 2003 to around one gram in 2012.

A handful of other countries have banned them, including Switzerland and Denmark. Other countries have enacted strict labeling laws.

Dr. Leon Bruner, chief scientist at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said in a statement that his group estimates that food manufacturers have voluntarily lowered the amount of trans fats in food products by 73 percent.

The group, which represents the country's largest food companies, did not speculate on a reasonable timeline or speak to how difficult a ban might be for some manufacturers. Bruner said in a statement that "consumers can be confident that their food is safe, and we look forward to working with the FDA to better understand their concerns and how our industry can better serve consumers."

Said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg: "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."

Agency officials say they have been working on trans fat issues for around 15 years and have been collecting data to justify a possible phase-out since just after President Barack Obama came into office in 2009.

The advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest first petitioned FDA to ban trans fats nine years ago. The group's director, Michael Jacobson, says the prohibition is "one of the most important lifesaving actions the FDA could take."

"Six months or a year should be more than enough time, especially considering that companies have had a decade to figure out what to do," Jacobson said.

Comments

Maggdi

.... In the word of The Who: " If I swallow anything evil....."

Unassumer

Someone didn't proofread! 'Organization says prohibition could prevent $7,000 deaths each year'.

We all know there is no such thing as a $7000 death!

Contango

I know it’s a typo but, only $7K?

That ain’t a lot. Have ya priced a conventional funeral lately?

deertracker

Ut oh, they are coming for you Sprinkles!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rjk1915

This is a case of looking where the light is best, and explains why all our ancestors died young.

rjk1915

There's apparentlyl no such thing as a proof reader, either.

rjk1915

I've lived my life without these restrictions. I'm 98.

Dr. Information

More government oversight. Called this 3 years ago when Michelle went on the school lunch stampede. I said mark my words, the government is within reach of telling you what you can and cannot eat.

bnjjad

They have always been doing that. There are numerous things that are outlawed that are consumed just fine in other places.

Centauri

"Condemning artificial trans fats as a threat to public health,"

Get that? "Artificial" means that the trans fats are not created by nature.

Not all fats are bad for you. Some actually promote good health.

http://www.naturalnews.com/trans...
Trans fats news, articles and information:

http://www.naturalnews.com/cocon...
Coconut oil news, articles and information:

Not all coconut oils are healthy. Watch out for what the food industry claims is healthy. Some coconut oils are not healthy for you. It depends on how it is extracted. In general, healthy virgin coconut oil is white and has a scent of fresh coconuts and a mild taste of fresh coconuts.

http://www.naturalnews.com/03655...
Why virgin coconut oil is superior to highly refined, processed coconut oil

http://www.evolvingwellness.com/...
How to Choose A Coconut Oil: Comparing Best and Worst Brands

I don't see anything wrong with healthy virgin coconut oil in plastic jars.

"Organization says prohibition could prevent $7,000 deaths each year"
That 7000 deaths each year sounds like a very low figure. I am very skeptical of the FDA and their news.

For those of you looking forward to treatment of your medical conditions might want to know if your health insurance will still be there for you:
http://canadafreepress.com/index...
"Obama apologizes kind of, sort of, not really, for cancelled health insurance"
"Peddling the lie that he never said it wasn’t working, so he had to find a way to kind of sort of apologize so he could cross that off the checklist, but he had to do it in a way that didn’t really admit he was guilty of wrongdoing. Quite the parlour trick, but this is the sort of thing Obama lives for. Behold:"

Centauri

http://www.naturalnews.com/04270...
"16 million Americans to lose health care coverage under Obamacare"

deertracker

I wish you all would give it a rest. If there was as much effort put into making it work as there is in beating down the law it just might have less problems. The rhetoric is just tiresome!

shucks

Agreed. It's a good thing. Let it work , stop beating it down.

That's the basic robotic Repub and Teatard program instruction :"Beat it down".

Nemesis

Not agreed. Even very leftist media outlets like NPR openly admit that the majority of Americans are against it. To them, it's NOT a good thing, and if you thought something comparable was a bad thing, you'd be working overtime to "beat it down."

Hypocrit.

shucks

Nemesis , I'm calling you a liar and a screwball.

Dr. Information

Obamacare is nothing more than more government control. Im glad you idiots are good with more oversight from big brother.

shucks

No thanks for your paranoid insight .

Nemesis

You can call me whatever you want, saying something over and over doesn't make it true. That's all your comments ever are - ad hominems and naked assertion with no support.

shucks

"That's all your comments ever are - ad hominems and naked assertion with no support."

.........That's EXACTLY what you've done to me.

Give me proof of your NPR claim and I'll apologize.
Until then , you are a , liar , screwball , and hypocrite.

Nemesis

Well, let's see. I actually first heard it on NPR while driving home one night several weeks ago, when the reporter said "despite most polls indicating most Americans oppose [the Affordable Care Act]" and I don't remember the date, so the audio file would be hard to find.

HOWEVER, it's not hard to find the polls themselves.

a CNN poll released about the time of that broadcast shows support for the ACA below 40%
http://blog.heritage.org/2013/09...

Here is a amalgamation of the major polling organizations, with a configurable chart (scroll down) which, if you take it all the way back to the earliest point of polling on the ACA (27 Nov 2009 - click on the MAX button in the lower right hand corner of the graph.) shows that opposition has consistently exceeded support.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com...

Also, a poll done in the last week that shows 53% oppose it.
http://www.isidewith.com/poll/96...

But what about NPR reporting of these results?

Well, from this article which sounds a lot like the report I heard, http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/...
comes this:
"And this month's tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation bears them out. Negative views of the law (42 percent) top positive ones (37 percent)."

Now it's your turn - you accused me of being on drugs - show me the urinalysis.

shucks

You've got nothing.
Other countries have health care.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uni...

The goal of the Republitards and Teatards is to destroy Obama's legacy ...like they almost destroyed America...that's the bottom line.

You probably think Wall Street is on your side too.

You definitely have brain damage to propose legalization of cocaine , heroin , meth, etc.

grumpy

"You've got nothing.
Other countries have health care"

So what if other countries have healthcare? We are talking about obamacare. There asre many types of healthcare and none of those countries have obamacare. So far obamacare has been shown to have been passed by lying about what is actually in it. Not the lies told to pass it, now we are seeing what is in it since it has been passed. Aren't you glad that it was passed before you were allowed to know what a turd it is?

Nemesis

Shizzle, did you lose track of the converation? I never said other countries didn't have health care. I two things

-The majority of Americans oppose the ACA.
-If you thought something was wrong, you'd try to tear it down.

I've substantiated the first point at your request, and you apparently lack the capacity to remain coherent on the topic long enough to even remember to dispute the second. Either that, or you've got nothing substantive to offer and you're verbally floundering again.

I don't have any position on whose side Wall Street is. Wall Street simply does what is best for Wall Street under the current conditions.

And your assertion that proposing an end to prohibition is evidence of brain damage is just that, a naked assertion (which I predicted.) You offer no basis.

That, and, of course, the fact that, true to form, you have nothing to offer but namecalling.

shucks

You lost track of the conversation - remember ? trans fat?

Here's another name for you : narcissistic clown.

Nemesis

You made it about the ACA - this subthread is all in response to you.

But then again, we wouldn't want to confuse your delusion with anything like facts.

shucks

You are a bottomless pit of idiocy and self- delusion.

santown419

×2

Contango

President Obama: If you like your trans fats you can keep them. :)

Nemesis

I believe a lot of supporters of the current regime are fond of buttons and bumper stickers that say "Keep your laws off my body!" Maybe they should take their own slogans to heart.

The Big Dog's back

Does that include women wanting to have abortions?

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