On Thursday, November 7, 2013 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a tentative determination and began a 60-day public comment period on removing trans fat from the agency's list of ingredients "generally regarded as safe." This is a first step in removing artificial trans fats from processed foods.
Trans fat is made by bubbling hydrogen through hot vegetable oil, chemically converting the liquid oil into a fat that is solid at room temperature. In 2006, the FDA required that trans fat be included on the nutrition fact panel on food. At that point public consumption dropped, and many companies reformulated their products to remove trans fats.
The current FDA action is allowing manufacturers several years to find substitutes.
Why It Matters
Food manufacturers use hydrogenated vegetable oils for texture, to increase product shelf life and keep flavors stable. It is most commonly used in some baked goods, canned frosting, stick margarine, coffee creamers and microwave popcorn.
Studies have shown that consumption of trans fat can lead to increased LDL cholesterol, known as bad cholesterol and decreased HDL, or good cholesterol, as well as an increased risk of coronary heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a further reduction of trans fat in the food supply can prevent an additional 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year and up to 20,000 heart attacks each year.
How UL Can Help
For more details on how UL can help you bring regulatory compliant, safe, and quality food products to market, click Contact UL at the top of the page and a UL representative will follow up with you soon.