The Food and Drug Administration has moved to phase out partially hydrogenated oils, the main vehicle for trans fats, citing clear links to health risks.
The ban could prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease and 20,000 heart attacks per year, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the agency's preliminary conclusion is that the oils "are not generally recognized as safe for use in food."
While trans fats have been slowly fading from our diet, they still remain in a number of popular items such as microwave popcorn and refrigerated dough. Partially hydrogenated oil came into our diets about a century ago when scientists added hydrogen atoms to oil molecules, usually soybean oil, which helped make it shelf-stable and controlled consistency.
Most consumers won't notice the change, says Rachael Rettner on LiveScience:
Considering trans fat has already been eliminated from so many foods — without people noticing much of a difference in taste, texture or price — consumers likely won't feel additional effects if the ingredient is banned, said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer watchdog group that has advocated for the removal of trans fat.
"Probably 75 percent of trans fats have been removed from foods, and consumers haven't seen anything," Jacobson said. "That's one of the beauties of getting rid of trans fats."
On The Daily Circuit, we'll talk about the possible ban and how practical it is.
5 Foods That Face Changes with Trans Fat Ban (LiveScience)