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FDA Takes Aim at Trans Fats

 by Ruth Schneider   Posted on November 14 2013

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The Food and Drug Administration took steps this month to ban trans fats, a move that could prevent up to 7,000 deaths each year.

The FDA proposal would define partially hydrogenated oil -- the source of trans fats -- as an unsafe additive.Trans fats, a recognized contributor to heart disease, has been eliminated from many foods. Most of the time, we don't even notice a difference in taste. But trans fats still are around: In microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, coffee creamers and margarine.

You've probably seen labels on your favorite products advertising "free from trans fats." But those labels are a bit deceptive. It's actually legal to put that there are no trans fats in a product if it contains less than 0.5 grams. If you see partially hydrogenated oil as a listed ingredient, it's still in your food.

The FDA's proposal is preliminary -- it's in a 60-day open comment phase, and written comments will be accepted through Jan. 7, 2014.

There are no safe levels of trans fat intake, the Institute of Medicine found, which is why manufacturers have been removing it from their recipes. Even McDonald's pulled trans fats from their menu.

We're not likely to taste a difference as trans fats disappear from our foods. The FDA's proposal is a healthy move in the right direction.

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