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Food Safety News

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FDA Extends Comment Period for Trans Fat Determination

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be extending the comment period for its preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), a major source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in food.

The determination was originally published in the Federal Register on Nov. 8 and given a Jan. 7, 2014, deadline for comments. In response to stakeholder requests for additional comment time, FDA has extended the deadline until March 8.

Removing GRAS status from PHOs would mean they would be considered food additives and could not be used in food unless authorized by regulation.

Consumption of trans fat can increase the risk of coronary heart disease by raising low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol,” and the Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is no safe level of consumption of trans fat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent up to 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 coronary deaths each year.

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