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National Restaurant Association - FDA offers final rule on trans fat

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FDA offers final rule on trans fat

The FDA is removing partially hydrogenated oils, the main contributor of artificial trans fat in the food supply, from its list of “Generally Recognized as Safe” ingredients.

The FDA announced the decision June 16, after two years of discussion, saying artificial trans fat is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Companies, including restaurants, have three years to comply.

As a result of the FDA’s announcement, restaurant and foodservice operators and food manufacturers will no longer be permitted to sell items that are made directly with PHOs or that incorporate an ingredient containing PHOs unless they have the FDA’s prior approval.

The National Restaurant Association said many of its members have voluntarily eliminated PHOs from food items, noting that consumers are requesting it as part of a healthful diet. The association stated it would continue to provide education to members on what to do to comply with the decision, which takes effect June 18, 2018.

“Providing safe, enjoyable food is the restaurant industry’s top priority,” said Joan McGlockton, the NRA’s vice president of industry relations and food policy. “Our members work diligently to offer choices that meet a variety of consumer preferences. Today’s announcement out of FDA comes at a time when restaurateurs have largely reduced or eliminated partially hydrogenated oils from menu items. As the restaurant and foodservice industry works to comply with FDA’s decision, we will continue to educate our members, and encourage FDA to promptly review and respond to any food additive petitions regarding the use of low levels of PHOs.”

PHOs have been used for decades to improve the shelf life, taste and texture of many baked, fried and packaged foods.

The FDA has since 2006 required manufacturers to label any food item with 0.5 grams or more of trans fat.

The new rule affects industrially produced trans fat, rather than the trans fat that occurs naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products.

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