The FDA has banned artificial trans fats, completing a years-long process of removing the ingredients from American diets. The use of partially hydrogenated oils, which are the primary source of artificial trans fats in processed foods, is linked to heart disease. Removing these ingredients from processed foods can help "prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year," according to the FDA. The new rules do not apply to ingredients that contain naturally occurring trans fats.
The new rules actually give companies two choices. They can either completely remove partially hydrogenated oils, or they can petition the FDA to allow them in a particular product. If they opt for the latter, they must provide proof that the specific use isn't damaging to people's health. Companies have until 2018 to comply with the new rules.
Manufacturers have until 2018 to comply
Companies have been required to include trans fat content information on nutrition labels since 2006. That move was a key factor in a 78 percent decrease in trans fat consumption between 2003 and 2012, according to the FDA.
In the meantime, the FDA says that consumers should still look at their food’s ingredient lists for partially hydrogenated oils. Manufacturers can claim a product has "0" grams of trans fat if it contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.