Most of the trans fat in the foods we eat is formed through a manufacturing process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which converts the liquid into a solid fat at room temperature. This process is called hydrogenation. Trans fat also occurs naturally in food products from ruminant animals (e.g., milk, butter, cheese, meat products, etc.).
Eating trans fat raises the level of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood. An elevated LDL cholesterol level in the blood increases your risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in men and women in the U.S. Removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year.
FDA has taken steps to remove artificial trans fats in processed foods. In 2015, FDA determined that PHOs, the major source of artificial trans fat in the food supply, are no longer “Generally Recognized as Safe,” or GRAS. For the majority of uses of PHOs, June 18, 2018, remains the date after which manufacturers cannot add PHOs to foods. However, to allow for an orderly transition in the marketplace, FDA is allowing more time for products produced prior to June 18, 2018 to work their way through distribution. FDA is extending the compliance date for these foods to January 1, 2020. This action balances the health benefits of removing PHOs from the food supply with the need to provide an orderly transition in the marketplace.
- Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Removing Trans Fat)
- Federal Register notice: Grocery Manufacturers Association; Denial of Food Additive Petition
- Federal Register notice: Declaratory order; extension of compliance date
- Federal Register Notice: Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils
- Federal Register Notice: Food Labeling - Trans (68 FR 41434)
- Guidance for Industry: Trans Fatty Acids in Nutrition Labeling, Nutrient Content Claims, Health Claims; Small Entity Compliance Guide
- More Guidance and Regulations