Artificial trans fat will be removed from the U.S. food supply over the next three years under a ruling by regulators that the products pose health risks that contribute to heart disease.
There’s no longer a scientific consensus that partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, are generally recognized as safe, according to a final decisionreleased Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration. The oils are used for frying and in baked goods as well as in confections.
Food companies will be able to petition the FDA to gain approval of specific uses of partially hydrogenated oils if they have data proving the use isn’t harmful. Companies will have until June 2018 to comply with the FDA’s determination, either by removing trans fat or gaining a waiver. The FDA said it hasn’t seen any data to prove that even low levels of partially hydrogenated oils are safe.
The ban will likely cost food companies $6.2 billion over 20 years, according to FDA estimates. Many companies began phasing out trans fats years ago.
“I don’t know how many lives will be saved, but probably in the thousands per year when all the companies are in compliance,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
McDonald’s french fries have been white, limp, and virtually tasteless since the company stopped frying their foods in trans fats in 2008, voluntarily bowing to pressure from government agencies and “consumer advocates.” Now, the government is stepping in to make sure that everything we eat is just as bland and tasteless because, as is the case with most government edicts, the “science is settled” that trans fat is killing thousands of Americans.
Until they discover a decade from now that whatever replaces trans fat in 2018 is killing even more Americans — and then science will have to be resettled.