June 24, 2024

FDA Extending Comment Period on Trans Fat Reduction

The FDA is officially extending the comment period on FDA’s preliminary notice that partially hydrogenated oils, otherwise known as trans fats, will be removed from the “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) list. FDA published this notice on December 17, 2013.

Food LabelThe comment period is being extended by 60 days, to March 8, 2014. Many people had requested additional time to provide more comments. You can submit comments electronically to the FDA docket. Use docket number FDA-2013-N-1317.

The FDA is stating that “based on new scientific evidence and findings of expert scientific panels, the FDA has tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils, which are the primary dietary source of industrially produced trans fatty acids, or trans fat, are not generally recognizes as safe for any use in food.” If this determination is finalized, that means food manufacturers could no longer use trans fats, either directly or as ingredients in another food product, without direct FDA approval.

Trans fats have been linked to the development of many diseases, including coronary heart disease. The Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association consider trans fats a risky substance. Trans fats are found in many processed foods, including cakes, cookies, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, fast food, margarine, vegetable shortening, and refrigerated dough products. Corporations use them because they are shelf stable, are cheap, and can extend the shelf life of products.

Trans fats have no known health benefit, and there is no safe level of consumption. Trans fats have been restricted in other countries, including Denmark in 2004, Switzerland in 2008, and Canada. Some jurisdictions in the U.S. have restricted trans fat levels in food. California, New York City, and Baltimore have imposed restrictions on the use of trans fats ingredients in food service establishments.


  1. I hope that extending the deadline isn’t a stalling tactic, and then the FnDA will decide that trans-fat has been found to be safe and healthy after all. That would be another big win for industry, and the consumers lose again. Oh yeah, business as usual in La-la land.

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