WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2013 – FDA has extended the comment period on its proposal to reduce trans fat in processed foods, the agency announced in the Federal Register today. Stakeholders now have until March 8 to comment, whereas the old deadline was next week.

As of this morning, FDA had received almost 1,400 comments through the regulations.gov website.

The proposal, if finalized, would require food manufacturers to receive FDA approval to sell products containing partially hydrogenated oils. It would also brand the substance –- the primary dietary source of industrially produced trans fats –- as “not generally recognized as safe.”

Trans fat has been linked to heart disease, and can be found in a number of processed foods, including microwave popcorn, frozen pizza and coffee creamer.

In recent years, many food manufacturers and retailers have voluntarily decreased trans fat levels in the products they sell. McDonald’s, for example, now boasts that all of its fried menu items contain zero grams of trans fat per serving. Instead, the restaurant chain uses canola blend cooking oil.

Like McDonald’s, numerous other retailers and manufacturers have already demonstrated that many of these products can be made without trans fat. 

 Since trans fat content information began appearing on nutrition facts labels in 2006, trans fat intake among American consumers has declined from 4.6 grams per day in 2003 to about 1 gram in 2012.

The American Heart Association has praised FDA’s proposal. “[T]he scientific evidence is clear -– eating food with trans fat increases production of ‘bad’ cholesterol which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” the association wrote in a blog post. “Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke, and it’s also associated with a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”


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