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Obama Orders Food Companies To Quit Using Trans Fats

The Food and Drug Administration finalized a decision to ban artificial trans fat Tuesday, saying the move will reduce heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks.

Food companies have three years to rid products of the artificial fat they use to extend shelf life and improve texture and flavor, which also leads to increased cholesterol that causes heart disease — the number one cause of death in the United States.

The FDA removed the designation “generally recognized as safe” from the fat, which means food companies that want to use it will now have to ask the FDA for special permission, which is sure to be rare.

“[This decision] is probably the single most important thing the FDA has ever done for the healthiness of the food supply,” Michael Jacobson, director of an advocacy group that’s been petitioning the FDA regarding trans fats for years, told ABC News.

Former FDA official Richard Williams, vice president for Policy Research at the Mercatus Institute, is concerned about the product companies will use in lieu of trans fats.

“Before a government agency bans a product, like trans fats, they have an obligation to try and find out what is likely to substitute for that product to ensure that we are not doing more harm than good,” he said in an emailed statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The FDA first signaled the ban in 2013 and most food companies have already rid their products of trans fats. However it’s still often found in products such as frozen pies, popcorn, frosting, peanut butter and coffee creamer — sometimes in small amounts. If there is less than .5 grams of trans fat in a product, the company can label it as 0 grams.

Class action lawyers are lining up to sue those companies still using the fats in the wake of the FDA official FDA ruling, and food company lawyers are reviewing the ruling for anything that could protect them from litigation.

“The class action lawyers have got their forks and knives out,” Stefanie Fogel, partner of food and beverage practice DLA Piper, told Politico.

New York City and California banned trans fat in 2006 and 2008 respectively.

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