The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has recently announced the decision to ban trans fats. This ingredient which was once thought to be a healthy alternative to butter and animal fats, has been widely added to a number of different foods as partially hydrogenated oils. This decision will affect a number of different processed foods including frozen pizzas, ready use frostings and microwave popcorn. However, this decision seems to have universal approval with industry experts, administrators and the public.
The main reason for this lack of controversy is that there has been much criticism of trans fats over the years. Many experts such as New York University food studies professor, Marion Nestle agree that trans fats have been phased out in the last few years and they are “relatively easy to ban” due to the substantial evidence that they cause harm and that they are no longer necessary as “substitutes are available”
The FDA has been working on the trans fat issue for approximately fifteen years. The process started with proper labeling, through to collating data about their effects. Advocacy groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest, have been petitioning for the ban of trans fats for almost a decade. Michael Jacobson, the director of the group is happy with this final decision and has been quoted that the FDA has made an “important lifesaving” action.
It is believed that this decision will have a huge impact on the health of the nation. Dr Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner believes that the ban could provide a way to save “thousands of people” from a “preventable death”. The figures collated by the CDC estimate that by reducing the level of trans fat in the current American diet, 7,000 people will avoid a preventable death and there would be a reduction in heart attacks by up to 20,000 cases.
Some areas of the country have already taken decisive action regarding trans fats. For example, New York restaurants have had a ban on trans fats for a number of years. This country wide ban will allow the United States to follow the example set by other countries including Iceland, Switzerland and Denmark, who have had a total ban for years with no problems. So, while the FDA works on a timeline, get prepared to say goodbye to trans fats for good.