This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) announced that food manufacturers have three years to stop using partially hydrogenated oils (defined as those fats and oils that have been hydrogenated, but not to complete or near complete saturation, with an iodine value greater than four) in their products. Partially hydrogenated oils are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed food. Citing “heart health” concerns, including the link between artificial trans fat and coronary heart disease, FDA is giving manufacturers three years in order to repurpose their foods and re-label their products. In a public statement, FDA noted that in 2013 it had made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils were “no longer generally recognized as safe,” or achieving of the GRAS designation, in human food. With this week’s move, FDA finalizes that preliminary determination. However, products with naturally occurring trans fats and pet foods with partially hydrogenated oils will not be affected by this ban.
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