Philadelphia, April 2, 2014 Clinical Therapeutics features a special report in its March issue focusing on the science and policy leading up to the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) preliminary steps toward restricting industrially produced trans fatty acids, or trans fat, at the federal level. "Trans fat is a compelling topic for Clinical Therapeutics to examine, because although it directly impacts human health, it also cues up controversy in multiple disciplines, including economics and politics," said John G. Ryan, Dr.PH., Topic Editor for Endocrinology and Diabetes, and guest editor for this multi-disciplinary investigation of trans fat.
Trans fat, derived from the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils, is present in many processed foods and bakery items. The presence of trans fat in such foods is not always obvious, however, due to a 1999 FDA ruling (which became effective in 2006) that allows manufacturers to list the amount of fat per serving from trans fat as 0% if the actual amount per serving is below 0.5%. Scientific evidence linking various health risks with the consumption of trans fat formed the basis for a more recent ruling by the FDA. In the November 8, 2013 issue of the Federal Register, the FDA announced a preliminary ruling that trans fats are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food. This preliminary ruling, which proclaims partially hydrogenated oils as food additives, triggered a public comment period that ended on March 8, 2014.
Although the evidence linking trans fat with heart disease has mounted for years, the evolving science has at times been equivocal, largely because of two unique sources of trans fat: dietary and ruminant. "While there is an almost unanimous view that trans fatty acid should be phased out to less than 1% of total daily energy consumption, a similar consensus has not been reached with respect to TFA from ruminant meats and dairy since the amounts likel
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