The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken the first step to effectively ban trans fat from processed food. In November 2013, the Food and Drug Administration published a tentative determination that partially hydrogenated oils, which are the major dietary source of trans fat in processed food, are not “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). This agency action, if finalized, “could, in effect, mean the end of artificial, industrially-produced trans fat in foods” according to the FDA. This unprecedented action would come after consumption of trans fat from products containing partially hydrogenated oils has declined from 4.6 grams a day in 2003 to about 1 gram a day in 2012. What is the legal authority for this action and are there legal arguments against the FDA moving forward in the proposed manner? What are the policy arguments for and against this action to eliminate “artificial” trans fat from the food supply? Could other aggressive actions against “unhealthy” ingredients such as caffeine, sodium and sugar be on the horizon?
- Daren Bakst, Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy, The Heritage Foundation
- Stuart Pape, Partner, Patton Boggs LLP