Local businesses react to FDA ban on trans fats

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- The Food and Drug Administration has given the food industry three years to remove partially hydrogenated oils from their products.

It’s a major source of artificial trans fats in processed foods, which is a big contributor to heart disease. The FDA ruled that trans-fat is no longer “generally recognized as safe” for use in human food.

Scanning grocery store shelves, it seems easy to find a healthy choice but you may not be picking up what you think.

A product can have up to half a gram of trans fat without it being marked on the label.

“You really have to read the ingredient list,” said Kathy Adam, the clinical nutrition manager for Mercy Hospital. “If it says partially hydrogenated oils, there’s going to be some trans-fat.”

Adam said those small amounts of trans fats can add up. Most are used as a preservative and can lead to higher bad cholesterol levels and heart disease.

“It’s in a lot of commercially produced products, a lot of baked goods, a lot of frozen pizzas, coffee creamers,” said Adam.

People who work at the Lexington Co-Op are excited about the ban. They told us the food industry has been heading in this direction for more than a decade.

“The natural foods industry has been the fastest growing segment of the grocery industry for the past 15, 20 years so every year we have more and more people interested in living more simply,” said Tim Bartlett, the general manager.

The co-op has very few, if any, products that include trans-fats.

“Maybe there will be more products available for us to include in our store, which would be wonderful,” said Caitlin Merna, who also works at the Co-Op.

Other local businesses told us it’s not good news.

We talked to Paula, with Paula’s Donuts, who said she knew this was coming. Paula told News 4 it may mean she’ll have to pay higher prices for ingredients and change her recipes.

Nutritionists said it probably won’t alter the way our favorite treats taste.

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