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"A Major Step Forward for Heart Health"-- PHI Statement on Trans Fat Ban

June 16, 2015

Statement from Lynn Silver, MD, MPH, Senior Advisor at the Public health Institute and Director of California Project Lean

"The Public Health Institute and California Project LEAN salute the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA)  decision to acknowledge that trans fat is not "generally recognized as safe" and should no longer be part of our food supply. This decision is a landmark event, marking recognition by the federal government that in the 21st  century its food regulatory authority must be used decisively to reduce the risks from unhealthy foods that increase today's most common chronic conditions--with heart disease foremost amongst them."

"Though artificial trans fats were progressively added to our food supply over the last 100 years, their safety was never really evaluated until late in the 20th century-- demonstrating the insufficiency of our food protection mechanisms. In late 2006 New York City was the first to ban its use in restaurants, after restaurants refused to act voluntarily, and a host of other jurisdictions including the state of California rapidly followed suit. Consumption today in the US is one quarter of what it was at its peak. But that is still too high."

"Initial actions that simply labeled trans fat products were positive, but proved insufficient. Today's action by the FDA to definitively remove this harmful substance from the food supply is a major step forward for heart health.  We hope to see similar steps on two other leading dietary contributors to heart disease, excess salt in processed foods and excess sugar in sugary drinks and processed foods, both of which are before the FDA awaiting action. We look forward to this being the beginning of FDA leadership to place the nation on a stronger footing for a healthy diet."

Dr. Silver and colleagues launched the nation’s first trans fat  ban in New York City in 2006.