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Trans Fat Ban Could Impact Restaurants

Operators wonder if they’ll need to reformulate baked goods and fried foods under the proposed FDA ban.
December 2, 2013

​WASHINGTON, D.C. – A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled its proposed ban on partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which is the main source of trans fats. While the agency didn’t outline exactly how that would effect restaurant foods, many operators are concerned about redoing recipes for baked goods and fried foods, Nation’s Restaurant News reports.

In addition, industry experts point out that many manufacturers have already taken trans fat out of numerous products in recent years. The FDA decided that PHOs are not “generally recognized as safe,” and the agency is gathering public comments before issuing a final ruling. The agency decision would exempt trans fats that naturally appear in some dairy and meat products.

“The good news is that the oil companies have really done a lot of the work ahead and have produced trans fat–free oils that replicate the needed factors that the artificial trans fat oils were fulfilling,” said Aaron Noveshen, founder and president of The Culinary Edge.

Trans fats have increasingly been under attack for being unhealthy. Eight years ago, New York City forbade restaurants from serving foods with artificial trans fats. The state of California, and the cities of Philadelphia and Cleveland, among others, also enacted bans on trans fats.

Many food makers, which had to revamp products for some markets, made wholesale changes to eliminate artificial trans fats. Restaurant chains Jason’s Deli and Eat ‘n Park also have switched to products without PHOs in 2005. The National Restaurant Association, among other groups, has requested a 60-day extension from the agency in order to gather more data from operators on the proposed ban.