Although trans fat items are still on the market, US food and beverage companies voluntarily have eliminated the amount of trans fat added to foods by more than 86 percent since 2003, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Trans fat consumption fell by 78 percent from 2003 to 2012, according to the FDA, with ingredient reformulation being a key factor.
Trans fat is worse than other fats because it both raises "bad" cholesterol and lowers "good" cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease. Trans fats occur naturally at low levels in meat and dairy.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association issued the following statement by Dr. Leon Bruner, GMA’s chief science officer, regarding the recent decision by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to accept for review the industry’s food additive petition seeking approval for a specified set of low-level uses of partially hydrogenated oil (PHOs) in food products.
“FDA’s acceptance of our food additive petition marks the beginning of the agency’s formal review process and we look forward to working with the FDA on achieving approval for these proposed low-level uses of PHOs. Our petition shows that the proposed PHO uses are as safe as the naturally occurring trans fat present in the normal diet.
“GMA’s food additive petition is based on a comprehensive and highly detailed analysis of the latest scientific information available and provides the most current information about the amount of PHO consumed in U.S. diets today. The food additive petition seeks approval of limited and specific PHO uses that are important for the production of safe food products. Examples of proposed continued uses include use as color and flavor carriers and to deliver consumer-desired textural characteristics that other oils cannot provide, such as flakiness in doughs. PHOs also function as essential processing aids such as pan release agents so that products do not stick to baking trays and rollers during the manufacturing process.”
In June, The Grocery Manufacturers Association responded to the FDAs Notice of Final Determination on Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status of Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs):
“GMA is pleased that FDA has acted in a manner that both addresses FDA's concerns and minimizes unnecessary disruptions to commerce. GMA will work in collaboration with FDA to further reduce PHOs in foods. The delayed effective date for FDA’s Notice of Final Determination regarding the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status of Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) provides time needed for food manufacturers to complete their transition to suitable alternatives and/or seek food additive approval.”