American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) tentative determination that partially hydrogenated oils are not “generally recognized as safe,” which begins the process to eliminate trans fats from the food supply:
“The FDA’s actions to ultimately remove artificial trans fat from the diets of all Americans is a tremendous step forward in the fight against heart disease. The American Heart Association has long advocated for eliminating trans fat from the nation’s food supply, and we commend the FDA for responding to the numerous concerns and evidence submitted over the years about the dangers of this industrially produced ingredient.
The scientific evidence is clear – eating food with trans fat increases production of “bad” cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease. One Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study indicated that avoiding foods containing artificially produced trans fat could prevent 10,000-20,000 heart attacks and 3,000-7,000 coronary heart disease deaths each year in the U.S.
In addition to taking trans fat off the “generally recognized as safe” list, the association hopes the FDA will go further and revise the labeling for “trans fat-free” foods. Current policy allows food products with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat to round down and list zero grams on the Nutrition Facts Panel. This policy confuses and misleads consumers about the amount of trans fat they are actually eating.
Eating a healthy diet is a critical element of prevention, and prevention is the key to conquering heart disease – our nation’s No. 1 killer. Taking artificial trans fat out of foods will help Americans achieve this goal and build lives free of heart disease. The association stands ready to support the FDA in its work to eliminate this unsafe ingredient from our food supply.”