(WIAT) — The Food and Drug Administration moved Tuesday to phase out heart-clogging trans fats from the food supply. The agency determined that while intake of the fats has significantly decreased, it still remains a public health concern.
The FDA is giving food manufacturers three years to remove partially hydrogenated oils, the major source of trans fats, from their products. They are commonly used in processed foods to improve shelf-life and flavor but they can raise levels of “bad” cholesterol and lower the “good” cholesterol.
The FDA said between 2003 and 2012, trans fats consumption dropped nearly 80 percent, but some foods still have them.
“What we are really talking about is foods that are processed,” said Amy Jamieson-Petonic, registered dietician. “Things like boxed cookies, boxed crackers, pies. Things like French fries.”
Currently, foods are allowed to be labeled as having 0 grams of trans fat if they contain less than half-a-gram per serving, but the FDA said even those small amounts can add up.
“If they were eating more than one serving of that they could really consume a high level of trans fat from that food and not even be aware of it,” said Petonic.
Any company that wants to keep using trans fats will have to petition the FDA to allow it.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the main trade group in the food industry, is working on a petition. They want to ask the FDA for certain exceptions.
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