FDA announces plans to remove trans fat from food production

      EUGENE, Ore. -- The Food and Drug Administration wants to take trans fats out of your food, saying that it could save thousand of lives by banning the heart-clogging fats were once a common part of the American diet.

      The FDA announced Thursday it plans to have the food industry gradually phase out artificial trans-isomer fatty acids - or trans fats - from food production, citing studies that say they are "no longer generally recognized as safe."

      If approved, the FDA would classify the partially hydrogenated oils as additives that must be approved for use in food production.

      Cardiologists like Peace health doctor Sudeshna Banerjee agree with the change, saying that trans fats increase your chances of getting heart disease, heart attacks, or worse.

      "It actually triples your chances of having sudden cardiac death," said Banerjee. "From 2000-2009, Americans were averaging about 4-5 grams of trans fats per day."

      The FDA says they've been trying to phase out trans fats since 2009, but it can still be found in a number of processed foods and in restaurants.

      After the FDA started adding them to labels and packaging in 2003 that number dropped to about one gram.

      "However it only takes about 1-3 grams to have a significant impact on your heart disease," said Banerjee.

      Catherine Reinhart, owner of Sweet Life Patisserie, says the secret is making your own food with real ingredients.

      "Instead of artificial, hydrogenated, and trans fats shortening and things like that. Which I think tastes better in the end anyway," said Reinhart.

      Cardiologists also say the transition away from trans fats is a pretty easy process. Officials said Australia and Denmark started eliminating trans fats, and saw that taste, cost, and quality of food was relatively unchanged.

      The FDA said it's not trying to eliminate the small amounts of trans fats that naturally occur in some meat and dairy products, as those are too difficult to remove and aren't considered a public threat.