Monday, June 22, 2015

HEALTH NEWS - Elimination of Trans-Fats in U.S.

"FDA orders elimination of trans fats within next three years" PBS NewsHour 6/16/2015


SUMMARY:  The FDA has ordered the complete removal of trans fats from foods within the next three years.  Dr. Walter Willett the Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health discusses the effect this will have on Americans’ health and their favorite snacks.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  In health news today, the Food and Drug Administration moved to effectively ban artificial trans fats, declaring that partially hydrogenated oils, known as PHOs, and the main source of artificial trans fats, are unsafe for use in human food.

Food manufacturers have three years to get rid of the PHOs, a move the FDA said could prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks each year.

For more on today’s announcement, we turn to Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Thank you for joining us, Dr. Willett.

If you could please start by explaining for people who don’t understand, where do they find, where do you see trans fats?

DR. WALTER WILLETT, Department of Nutrition Chairman, Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health:  Trans fats have been widely used in the food supply as a substitute for lard and butter.

We found them in shortenings?  We found them in margarines, baked goods, deep-fried products.  Fortunately, about 80 percent or 85 percent of trans fats have been removed from the food supply by this time.

GWEN IFILL:  Well, OK, let’s talk about that, because if the FDA is just today saying that they were banned and we have already lost 80 — almost, as you pointed out, 80 percent of trans fats in the food supply since 2003, what is the need for this full ban now?

DR. WALTER WILLETT:  Even the relatively small amount of trans fats remaining are still likely to be causing around 7,000 premature deaths from heart disease per year.

That’s still a large number and definitely worth the ban taking effect to really get trans fat off the table entirely.

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