The FDA dropped heavy news Thursday, announcing their move to eliminate artificial trans fats from processed food. This could mean a major change to many standard foods, from frozen pizzas to those gas station coffee creamers you hoard.
Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the FDA's commissioner, said the ban could prevent 7,000 deaths and 20,000 heart attacks from heart disease a year. Although many brands removed trans fats from their products, such as McDonald's and Top Ramen, when the agency first required manufacturers to provide clear labeling seven years ago, it's still present in many quick-and-cheap foods.
The proposal is now up for 60 days of public comment, after which the FDA will declare partially hydrogenated oils -- the root of trans fats -- as no longer "generally recognized as safe." If the proposal is able to eliminate trans fats altogether, even trace amounts will be banned. At the moment, products containing less than .5 grams of the oils are not required to be listed.
While companies have the chance to prove scientifically that trans fats are safe for consumption, given the overwhelming amount of evidence showing the contrary, that would be a difficult feat to accomplish. As NYT points out, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is "no safe level for consumption of artificial trans fats."