F.D.A. Ruling Would All but Eliminate Trans Fats – NY Times Article


It’s about time the Food and Drug Administration take steps to eliminate heart attack inducing trans-fats from the American diet. This is great news!

I have to strongly commend NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who started the trend by requiring NYC restaurants to stop using trans-fats in 2005. It was an important catalyst to help get things where they are today with the FDA. Good job mayor Bloomberg!

You will need to click on the link to read the entire NY Times article, I have posted two excerpts here.



The Food and Drug Administration proposed measures on Thursday that would all but eliminate artery-clogging, artificial trans fats from the food supply, the culmination of three decades of effort by public health advocates to get the government to take action against them.

Artificial trans fats — a major contributor to heart disease in the United States — have already been substantially reduced in foods. But they still lurk in many popular products, like frostings, microwave popcorn, packaged pies, frozen pizzas, margarines and coffee creamers. Banning them completely could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year, the F.D.A. said.

“This is the final slam dunk on the trans fat issue,” said Barry Popkin, a nutrition epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The proposal is a rare political victory in an era when many regulations to protect public health have stalled. A landmark food safety bill took years to carry out, in part because it collided with the 2012 election season. And rules to regulate the tobacco industry are still stuck, four years after the law calling for them was passed. But just last month, the F.D.A. toughened restrictions on narcotic painkillers over industry objections. Thursday’s announcement got the attention of food experts.

“The F.D.A. is back,” said Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.

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


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.

But over the years, scientific evidence has shown they are dangerous because they raise the levels of so-called bad cholesterol and can lower the levels of good cholesterol. In 2003, the F.D.A. required that artificial trans fats be listed on food labels, a shift that prompted many large producers to eliminate them. Two years later, New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told restaurants to stop using artificial trans fats in cooking; other places, including California, Cleveland and Philadelphia, followed suit. Many major chains, like McDonald’s, found substitutes and eliminated trans fats.

Those actions led to a stunning reduction in consumption: Americans ate about one gram a day last year, down from 4.6 grams in 2006. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that blood levels of trans fatty acids among white adults in the United States declined by 58 percent from 2000 to 2009.

4 Responses

  1. It’s amazing that trans fats have lasted this long. Kudos to the FDA for its 2003 requirement and to Mayor Mike for taking it all a step further, and here’s hoping the FDA stays resolute.

    One does have to wonder what “substitute” McDonalds has found. Uh oh.

    • According to the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB121151133018416567) Mickey D’s uses a blend of Canola, Soy Bean and Corn oil to cook all their food in the US and Canada as of 2008. And guess what? The NYC ban on trans-fat was cited as one catalyst! (Go Mayor Mike!)

      Yes, it’s incredible that trans-fat has lasted this long and I will be glad to know that “our government” was able to do something good for people… for a change!

  2. Ha, yes, for a change indeed. Thanks for the info. on McD’s.

    • I have to say, it makes me feel optimistic to see news like this. It’s a rare positive when we typically hear so much about all kinds of legislation getting stalled out in Congress.

      Something to feel good about!

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