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posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 17 2015, @01:24AM   Printer-friendly
from the a-fat-lot-of-good-that-will-do dept.

FDA to ban trans-fats within 3 years

The FDA is finally rectifying one of their biggest failures ever -- trans fats. The FDA on Tuesday ruled that trans fat is not "generally recognized as safe" for use in human food.

"In many ways, trans fat is a real tragic story for the American diet," Nissen said. "In the 1950s and '60s, we mistakenly told Americans that butter and eggs were bad for them and pushed people to margarine, which is basically trans fat. What we've learned now is that saturated fat is relatively neutral -- it is the trans fat that is really harmful and we had made the dietary situation worse."

USA to ban partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil

According to multiple sources, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to ban partially-hydrogenated oil, a major source of trans-fats, which have been shown to cause heart disease. The ban will go into effect in 3 years.

New York Times:

The agency has proposed that partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, no longer be "generally recognized as safe."

That means companies would have to prove that such oils are safe to eat, a high hurdle given that scientific literature overwhelmingly shows the contrary. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is no safe level for consumption of them, a conclusion that the F.D.A. cited in its reasoning.

Partially hydrogenated oils are cheaper than saturated animal fats like butter, and for years were thought to be healthier. They are formed when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid. They became popular in fried and baked goods and in margarine. Crisco, originally marketed in the beginning of the 20th century, was the archetype, although it now contains no trans fat.

Official press release from the FDA:

In 2013, the FDA made a tentative determination that PHOs could no longer be considered GRAS [generally recognized as safe] and is finalizing that determination after considering public comments.

Since 2006, manufacturers have been required to include trans fat content information on the Nutrition Facts label of foods. Between 2003 and 2012, the FDA estimates that consumer trans fat consumption decreased about 78 percent and that the labeling rule and industry reformulation of foods were key factors in informing healthier consumer choices and reducing trans fat in foods. While trans fat intake has significantly decreased, the current intake remains a public health concern.

The Guardian:

The oils were popularized in the 1950s, when it was thought that they would be healthier than saturated fats. Americans turned to products such as trans fat-laden margarine in droves after the federal government recommended a cutback in saturated animal fats.

Today, there is a broad scientific consensus that the oils contribute to heart disease and are linked to type two diabetes.

A young nutritionist at the University of Illinois discovered some of the first evidence that the oils could be unhealthy in 1957, when he found large amounts of the fat in the clogged arteries of patients who died of heart attacks. The scientist, Fred Kummerow, followed that discovery with decades of scientific papers, despite that his findings wouldn't be widely accepted until decades later.

In August 2013, with the help of San Diego attorney Gregory S Weston, Kummerow sued the FDA for its inaction, saying it had violated the New Deal-era legislation that granted the FDA authority over food safety. By November, the FDA had responded to the lawsuit by issuing the tentative ruling.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:34AM

    by takyon (881) <> on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:34AM (#197126) Journal []

    In April 2004, Smucker introduced "Crisco Zero Grams Trans Fat Per Serving All-Vegetable Shortening," which contained fully hydrogenated palm oil blended with liquid vegetable oils to yield a shortening much like the original Crisco. From January 24, 2007, all Crisco shortening products were reformulated to contain less than one gram of trans fat per serving; the separately marketed trans-fat free version introduced in 2004 was consequently discontinued.[3] As of 2012, Crisco consists of a blend of soybean oil, fully hydrogenated palm oil, and partially hydrogenated palm and soybean oils. According to the product information label, one 12 g serving of Crisco contains 3 g of saturated fat, 0 g of trans fat, 6 g of polyunsaturated fat, and 2.5 g of monounsaturated fat.[4] It is claimed that this reformulated Crisco has the same cooking properties and flavor as the original version of the product.

    According to the FDA, "Food manufacturers are allowed to list amounts of trans fat with less than 0.5 gram (1/2 g) per serving as 0 (zero) on the Nutrition Facts panel."

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:44AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @04:44AM (#197149)

    Yeah. I encountered that at another site.
    Industry Loopholes Leave Bad Taste []

    Renee Sharp, Environmental Working Group's (EWG) director of research [said...]
    "we’re disappointed that the FDA did not set a speedy deadline. What’s worse, the FDA has failed to close the labeling loophole that allows processed food manufacturers to avoid full disclosure."

    [...]the label of an item containing [0.49] grams of trans fat can falsely say 'zero' trans fat or 'trans fat free'.

    So, a wiley vendor can make his portions exactly the right size and dodge the regulation.
    A consumer who eats several of the miniature "servings" gets more than he bargained for.

    -- gewg_

    • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:49PM

      by richtopia (3160) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:49PM (#197281) Homepage Journal

      I believe Serving Sizes are relatively standardized (depending on the product).

      Bulk foods are almost always 1/2 cup. If 0.5g (why must I mix units?) of trans-fats is hidden in that half cup, you will be hard pressed to consume serious amounts of trans-fats.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @03:08PM (#197295)

      That reminds me of the declaration often found on German convenience foods: "Ohne Konservierungsstoffe laut Gesetz" ("Without preserving agents according to law"). The addition "laut Gesetz" ("according to law") always made me suspicious that there are indeed preserving agents inside; otherwise why would they need that addition?

  • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Wednesday June 17 2015, @05:10AM

    by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday June 17 2015, @05:10AM (#197155) Journal


  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:42PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17 2015, @02:42PM (#197277)

    According to the FDA, "Food manufacturers are allowed to list amounts of trans fat with less than 0.5 gram (1/2 g) per serving as 0 (zero) on the Nutrition Facts panel."

    That's completely idiotic. What were they thinking?