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Federal government bans trans fats deeming them to be ‘unsafe!’

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In the 1990’s, Harvard School of Public Health sounded the alarm about trans fats and advocated that these fats be listed on nutrition labels.  Researchers encouraged the FDA to be honest with consumers, though the FDA continued to use ambiguous language and desired to conceal the truth.  After intense lobbying against the food industry, the FDA finally approved adding trans fats to nutrition labels. (1)

FDA reports that all trans fats must be removed from food by June 18, 2018!

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Fifteen years later, the FDA now makes another ruling about trans fats.  This one small, one-line change found in the middle of a large federal rule, will create a major makeover in American food.  The FDA historically estimated that approximately 95 percent of cookies, 100 percent of crackers, and 80 percent of frozen breakfast products contain trans fats.  While trans fats are listed on food labels, the government ruled on June 16, 2015 that trans fats will be banned. (2)

The FDA noted in the rule that artificial trans fats in processed foods are no longer recognized as safe.  Companies have until June 18, 2018 to remove trans fats from their product lines. (2)

“The FDA’s action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans,” Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s acting commissioner, said in a statement. (2)

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If companies seek to use trans fats in a small amount, they would need to file a petition to seek permission to add even a little bit of a trans fat to their product.  Trans fats are often used to improve taste, hold artificial coloring and give food a longer shelf life.  However, they are also linked to heart disease and are responsible for 50,000 fatal heart attacks each year. (2)

“We base our determination on available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat,” the FDA’s rule says. (2)

Company costs to use healthier oils will be between $12 and $14 billion, but the economic benefits of this decision will be between $117 and $242 billion!

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It is estimated that within 20 years, the economic benefits from this decision would total between 117 and 242 billion dollars.  The cost for companies to use healthier oils will be between $12 billion and $14 billion. (2)

Though several food manufacturers have been voluntarily removing trans fats from their products, many companies remained hesitant to change their product ingredients.  These voluntary company changes reduced consumption of trans fats by 80 percent from 2003-2012.(2)   In 2006, New York City restaurants banned the use of trans fats. (3)  Since the FDA deems them unsafe, even one serving is too much.

Currently, trans fats are found mostly in fried and baked goods such as doughnuts, biscuits, frozen pizza and margarine.  Other foods that contain trans fats are microwave popcorn and even meat and dairy products. (3)

Sources for this article include:

(1) www.hsph.harvard.edu
(2) www.usnews.com
(3) www.today.com

Image source: flic.kr

Article originally published on RawFoodWorld.com republished with permission

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