The FDA announcement Thursday that it was moving to eliminate added trans fat from processed food means that microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, refrigerated dough, cookies and ready-to-use frostings are too much of a health risk. Yes, even that coffee creamer is trying to kill you.
The planned ban will also hit small restaurant chains that use the oil to deep fry food and to improve the texture of foods.
Many scientists and health officials believe there is no safe amount of trans fat. Trans fats are produced when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid. The result, artificially hydrogenated oil, is a culprit in clogged arteries that eventually lead to heart attacks.
Recall earlier this year when the Center for Science in the Public Interest deemed Long John Silver's Big Catch the worse meal in America. The fried fish plate, with hush puppies and onion rings, had 33 grams of trans fat. The American Heart Assn. recommends that people consume no more than about two grams of trans fat per day -- which could be found naturally in milk and meat. (Long John Silver's announced in August that it would switch completely to non-trans fat oils by the end of the year.)
Additionally, trans fat is believed to raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. FDA officials believe eliminating trans fat from the consummer's reach could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year.
The ban, if approved, "could, in effect, mean the end of artificial, industrially produced trans fat in foods," said Dennis M. Keefe, director of the FDA's office of food additive safety, on the agency's website.
Through the years, the FDA has found ways to get food manufacturers to stop using partially hydrogenated oils. In 2006, companies were required to list artificial trans fats on all labels, inducing most manufacturers to stop using the ingredient.
Blood levels of trans fatty acids in white adults fell 58% from 2000 to 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.