Executive Briefings

U.S. Ban on Trans Fat to Bring Big Shift in Supply to Food Industry

Artificial trans fat will be banned from the U.S. food supply over the next three years under a ruling by regulators that the products pose health risks that contribute to heart disease, the leading killer of Americans.

There's no longer a scientific consensus that partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, are generally recognized as safe, according to a final decision released Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration. The oils are used for frying and in baked goods as well as confections.

Food companies will be able to petition the FDA to gain approval of specific uses of partially hydrogenated oils if they have data proving the use isn’t harmful. Companies will have until June 2018 to comply with the FDA's determination either by removing trans fat or gaining a waiver.

The food industry has been using partially hydrogenated oils for decades, though many such as Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods Group Inc. and ConAgra Foods Inc. have been phasing them out. Many baked goods such as pie crusts and biscuits as well as canned frosting still use partially hydrogenated oils because they help baked goods maintain their flakiness and frostings be spreadable. As for frying, palm oil is expected to be a go-to alternative, while modified soybean oil may catch on as well.

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There's no longer a scientific consensus that partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, are generally recognized as safe, according to a final decision released Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration. The oils are used for frying and in baked goods as well as confections.

Food companies will be able to petition the FDA to gain approval of specific uses of partially hydrogenated oils if they have data proving the use isn’t harmful. Companies will have until June 2018 to comply with the FDA's determination either by removing trans fat or gaining a waiver.

The food industry has been using partially hydrogenated oils for decades, though many such as Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods Group Inc. and ConAgra Foods Inc. have been phasing them out. Many baked goods such as pie crusts and biscuits as well as canned frosting still use partially hydrogenated oils because they help baked goods maintain their flakiness and frostings be spreadable. As for frying, palm oil is expected to be a go-to alternative, while modified soybean oil may catch on as well.

Read Full Article