Heart-clogging trans fats were once a staple of the American diet, plentiful in baked goods, microwave popcorn and fried foods. Now, mindful of the health risks, the Food and Drug Administration is getting rid of what’s left of them for good.
Condemning artificial trans fats as a threat to public health, the FDA announced late last week it will require the food industry to phase them out.
Manufacturers already have eliminated many trans fats, responding to criticism from the medical community and to local laws, Even so, the FDA said getting rid of the rest — the average American still eats around a gram of trans fat a day — could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.
It won’t happen right away. The agency will collect comments for two months before determining a phaseout timetable. Different foods may have different schedules, depending how easy it is to find substitutes.
Indeed, so much already has changed that most people won’t notice much difference, if any, in food they get at groceries or restaurants.