The FDA has given us three years to come up with something other than Trans Fats in food, having taken the GRAS label (‘generally recognized as safe’) from it. This has been a long time coming as partially hydrogenated oils, which make up a significant amount of Trans Fats in foods, has been shown to majorly contribute to the nation’s poor heart health.
Right now, labels can be misleading. Foods can be labeled as zero Trans if they do not exceed a certain amount per serving. This is from the FDA’s press release:
Currently, foods are allowed to be labeled as having “0” grams trans fat if they contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, including PHOs, the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods.
It is confusing as ‘0’ should mean actually ‘zero’.
But it will be difficult to simply remove Trans Fats entirely at first since many emulsifiers in use today are derived from partially hydrogenated oils (which contains Trans Fats). Also, reformulations by food manufacturers and commercial bakers will take time and money. The object is to create a product that has the same shelf life and flavor as the current product with the Trans Fats, which is not always easy since there are no clear substitutions at times.
I just posted on the pastry blog how this will affect bakers and food manufacturers, and how a Rabbi puts to rest any notions of placing profits over public health. Link is below.