On June 17, 2015, the FDA made the final determination to ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in food by declaring them no longer generally recognized as safe (GRAS) in human food. This is an important step in improving the country’s health because PHOs are the major source of dietary trans fats. Trans fats cause several negative health effects and have been linked to:
PHOs can be found in a wide variety of processed foods. By removing PHOs from the food supply, the FDA believes that 10,000 to 20,000 coronary events could be prevented each year and 3,000 to 7,000 lives could be saved. In addition, the FDA estimates that the ban will produce $140 billion in benefits over the 20 years, while only costing industry $6.2 billion during that time period.
This issue brief provides information on PHOs, what it means to lose GRAS status, and the FDA’s ban on PHOs.