FDA Bans Partially Hydrogenated Oils

Food manufacturers will have 3 years to remove all partially hydrogenated oils (PHO) from their products following an FDA decision that PHOs—the primary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods—are not “generally recognized as safe,” (GRAS).

The subject was first considered in 2013, when the FDA tentatively determined that PHOs were not GRAS. Now, after considering public comments, the FDA has finalized their decision.

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The decision follows a 2006 requirement that forced manufacturers to include trans fat content on the Nutrition Facts labels of their products, a change that contributed to a 78% decrease in overall trans fat consumption in the United States between 2003 and 2012.

“The FDA’s action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans," said FDA's Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, M.D. "This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”

Manufacturers will have 3 years to reformulate products containing PHOs, remove them from the market, or petition the FDA  to permit the use of PHOs in certain products.

—Michael Potts

FDA. The FDA takes step to remove artificial trans fats in processed foods [press release]. Accessed June 16, 2015.