FDA Bans Trans Fat
Say good-bye to trans fat. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that trans fat, one of the key ingredients in processed foods, will be banned in the U.S. in 2018.
The decision had long been expected since the food additive has been linked to a number of health problems, including high cholesterol, obesity and heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), removing trans fat could prevent up to 20,000 heart attacks, and 7,000 heart disease-related deaths, each year in the U.S.
Manufacturers have had to list trans fat content on their labels since 2006, and that has resulted in a significant decrease in the amount of trans fat in American foods. The FDA estimates trans fat consumption declined about 78 percent between 2003 and 2012 after the labeling went into effect. In 2007, the city of New York actually passed a law banning the use of trans fat in public restaurants.
Trans fat, however, has lingered in some processed foods, including some brands of microwave popcorn, baked goods, refrigerated dough and coffee creamers.
Before it became a popular ingredient in processed and fast foods because it increased shelf life and enhanced flavor, trans fat was introduced into the American diet as early as 1911 in the form of shortening or hydrogenated vegetable oil, used for cooking and making pies.