Nov 7 - Regulators say trans fats, an ingredient in many processed foods, are a health risk. Jennifer Davis reports.
Some of your favorite foods - including certain types of frozen burgers, microwave popcorn, frostings and more - could be on the verge of getting a major makeover if they contain trans fats. Thursday the Food and Drug Administration announced a proposal to eliminate trans fats from food products altogether - citing health concerns. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LISA W. MARTIN, MD, CARDIOLOGIST, THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, SAYING: "For each 2 percent increase in trans fat in the diet you can increase your chance of having heart disease by as much as 30 percent in some of those articles. So it is a significant risk factor for developing heart disease." Trans fats, also called partially hydrogenated oil, are a solid substance made from combining vegetable oil and hydrogen. They're common in processed foods and are used for flavor, texture and to extend foods' shelf life. But the FDA commissioner says banning them could potentially prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LISA W. MARTIN, MD, CARDIOLOGIST, THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, SAYING: "The ban would make sure people are not ingesting trans fats without their knowledge because there can be small amounts in food without it being on the label and a lot of people eat a fair amount of those prepared foods, cookies, cakes pies, pastries." New York has already banned trans fats and in 2006 the FDA started requiring food makers to put information about trans fats on their nutrition labels. The FDA will be accepting public comments on this topic for 60 days. It will issue a final ruling sometime after that.