FDA mandates banning trans fats by 2018

trans fat foods
(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Canned frosting lovers, prepare to feel slightly less shameful about your secretive midnight indulgences.

On Tuesday, the FDA issued a final decision allotting the food industry a three-year time frame to phase out nearly all partially hydrogenated oils — the main source of trans fat — from foodstuffs that still contain the additive, like microwave popcorn and cake frosting. The move will prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks annually, according to the FDA.

The ruling, which makes good on the Obama administration's pledge to rid the nation of trans fat, rescinds the "generally recognized as safe" or GRAS status for partially hydrogenated oils. Since the 1950s when saturated fats were shunned, partially hydrogenated oils grew in favor for their proclivity to do wonders such as improve "mouth feel" and stabilize food coloring. Yum.

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Because there are many alternatives to trans fat, and the industry as a whole has managed to reduce its use by 85 percent, companies that have been slow to remove the additive from their products fear an onslaught of litigation.

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