On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration began its war on artificial trans fats — the organization said it would gradually require food makers to phase out the stuff, and announced that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are a source for trans fats in processed food, are not safe. The FDA is giving itself two months to gather more data on the threats of PHOs and to talk with food makers.
"The agency has opened a 60-day comment period to collect additional data and to get input on how much time it might take for food manufacturers to reformulate products that currently contain artificial trans fats," NBC News reported. After the data is collected and finalized, the FDA expects the PHOs would then be outlawed, CNN reports. Foods with unapproved additives can't be sold.
FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters the plan is an attempt to reduce the 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a year which researchers attribute to trans fats. That number seems like a lot considering that for the last few years the American public has been inundated with news stories about how fast food chain after fast food chain is dumping trans fats. And Americans have slowly weaned themselves off of the stuff. "While estimates of dietary intake of trans-fats among Americans has decreased nearly 75 percent in about a decade, there remain concerns about the inclusion of any trans-fats in foods," NBC News diet and health editor Madelyn Fernstrom wrote. Despite the decline, the FDA has estimated that the average American eats 4.7 pounds of trans fat a year.