FDA orders food companies to stop using trans fats, rules them a 'threat to public health'

Trans fats tend to be found in pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizzas and stick margarines

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Wednesday 17 June 2015 16:12 BST
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Hydrogenated vegetable oil, otherwise known as trans fat, will be phased out in foods in the US
Hydrogenated vegetable oil, otherwise known as trans fat, will be phased out in foods in the US

America’s Food and Drug Administration ordered food companies to phase out using artificial trans fats, found frozen pizza, microwave popcorn and biscuits.

The FDA said the trans fats have been found to have no health benefits by scientists and are instead a threat to public health. Companies must phase out their use in the next three years.

Trans fats are often used to improve the texture of a food product, its shelf life or its flavour, but they have sometimes been used by restaurants for frying.

The fats are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid, which is why they are often called partially hydrogenated oils.

These fats are known to raise the levels of “bad” cholesterol while lowering the levels of “good” cholesterol in the body, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the US.

The FDA has said the move to phase out trans fats will reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attack each year.

While the majority of artificial trans fats have stopped being used by manufacturers, and the public consumption of them has dropped by nearly 80 per cent since 2003, the foods in which the fats are still used are now a health concern.

Trans fats are still commonly found in frostings, pie crusts, biscuits, microwave popcorn, coffee creamers, frozen pizza, refrigerated dough, vegetable shortenings and stick margarines.

Additional reporting by AP

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