that means companies will not be able to use it in food without express FDA
The health world is celebrating today thanks to an
announcement from the FDA that it will be tackling trans fats. A preliminary
determination has declared that partially hydrogenated oils—a major source of
artificial trans fats—isn’t really safe for consumption. If the FDA decides to
label it as a food additive,
The kinda scary thing is that you can find partially
hydrogenated oils pretty much everywhere in processed foods, from cookies to
microwave popcorn to frozen pizza. It’s been linked to health problems, like
heart disease, so over the last few years, companies have been trying to
But let’s back up a step or two: What is partially hydrogenated oil, and what’s a trans fat?
First thing’s first: a trans fat is a partially hydrogenated oil, a type of fat that is chemically manufactured.
Fats exist in different states—liquids, like vegetable oil, and solids, like
butter, are the ones we cook with. Chemists make partially hydrogenated oil by
adding hydrogen to oil to make it into a solid. It’s been used since the early
1900s, and you might even have it around the house as margarine or shortening. Food
manufacturers in particular like it because it extends the shelf life of their
products (and tastes pretty yummy to boot).
Right now, the FDA is in the process of finalizing their
conclusion that trans fats need to be pretty much outlawed from food. If that
happens, then they’ll go into a 60-day comment period, during which industry
members can chip in with their two cents about the decision, and voice their
opinion about a timeline for phasing out partially hydrogenated oils. The FDA
has said that if the process moves forward, they would like to move as quickly
as they can to make a change so that consumers can have healthier food ASAP.
But there’s still no word as to when that might happen.
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BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 11/7/2013 12:00:00 AM
POSTED IN healthy eating 101, nutrition, In the News