It’s been two years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) determination that the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) is no longer generally recognized as safe (GRAS). The health of Americans was the basis for this decision, with FDA noting nearly 55,000 cases of coronary heart disease could be eliminated each year with the removal of PHOs from the food supply.
While the food industry has until June 2018 to comply with the regulation, some counties in New York State began implementing this restriction in public eateries between 2007 and 2011. A recent study found this movement demonstrated beneficial effects on heart health. Researchers compared counties with trans fat restrictions (n = 8.4 million) with those that did not (n = 3.3 million). Results showed that just three years after the regulation was implemented, there was a 6.2 percent decline in hospital admissions for heart attacks and strokes in counties that banned trans fats compared with those that did not (43 fewer events per 100,000 people).
Because this study focused only on the impact of PHO restrictions in the foodservice arena, even wider benefits can be anticipated from the FDA ruling, since it applies to both the foodservice and food processing industries.
Trans fats can still be found in food products and on menus as the food industry continues to work on solutions. Some companies are considering fully hydrogenated oils or tropical oils; however, this is not necessarily a healthy alternative, since evidence shows a clear link between saturated fat intake and increased heart risks. In fact, a 2016 study found that replacing just 5 percent of energy from dietary saturated fats with equivalent energy from monounsaturated fats could save the U.S. $25.7 billion in heart-disease related healthcare costs annually. This leads food industry professionals to a smarter solution.
Omega-9 Canola Oil is ideal for food companies looking to remove PHOs from their products without compromising quality, functionality or performance. This naturally stable oil can be used in applications currently employing partially hydrogenated oils while maintaining shelf life. In addition to containing zero trans fat, Omega-9 Canola Oil has among the lowest saturated fats and is uniquely high in heart-healthy monounsaturated (omega-9) fats.
By switching to Omega-9 Oils, the foodservice and food processing industries already have removed more than 1.5 billion pounds of saturated and trans fats from the North American food supply.