Posted at: 11/07/2013 2:44 PM
By: Benita Zahn
The FDA just took a step many derided when NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg did it. He banned trans fats in restaurant and other food establishments in 2008. 13 cities did the same and in 2009 Albany County followed suit.
The FDA, in a tentative determination on 11/7/13 said, "The partially hydrogenated oils containing the trans fats can’t be “generally recognized as safe”.
Although not a final decision the FDA said it would likely lead to rules that effectively ban an ingredient that’s been in widespread commercial use since the 1940's.
While trans fats occur naturally in some meat and dairy, most of what is found in processed food are vegetable oils treated with hydrogen to improve texture, extend shelf life and stabilize flavors. The Grocery Manufacturers Association says it's members have voluntarily been reducing the amount of trans fats in products since 2005 - probably because they saw the writing on the wall.
But much more change has to happen to get this stuff out of all of our food.
It won't be overnight and it won't be cheap - an estimated $8 billion spread over a few years to the food industry. But given the health cost - the CDC says removing trans fats could prevent upwards of 7,000 coronary deaths a year - it's probably a good investment.