Trans fat will soon completely disappear from the American diet, according to a ruling by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA ruled on Tuesday that trans fat is not “generally recognized as safe” for human food.
The department gave food manufacturers a three-year deadline to remove the partially hydrogenated oils or PHOs from their products. The companies can however petition the FDA for a special permit to use it. No PHOs can be added to human food unless otherwise approved by the FDA, CNN reported.
“The FDA’s action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans,” said Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the agency’s acting commissioner, in a news release. “This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”
In 2013, the FDA had made a tentative determination that trans fat was no longer safe to use in food, after years of public scrutinity and scientific review this is the final step in the process.
Manufacturers have had to list trans fat content on their labels since 2006, and there has already been a significant decrease in the amount of trans fat in American foods.
Trans fats are widely considered the worst kind of fat for your heart, even worse than saturated fats, which can also contribute to heart disease. Over the years, they have been used in foods such as frostings, which need solid fat for texture, or in those that need a longer shelf life or flavor enhancement.
The advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest first petitioned FDA to ban trans fat 11 years ago – saying that getting rid of trans fats that are still out there could save tens of thousands of lives on top of those that have already been saved from reductions.