by Daren Bakst
The Heritage Foundation
July 11, 2014
The Food and Drug Administration’s attempt to deem partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) as unsafe reaches far beyond their powers under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act of 1938. In November 2013, the FDA published its tentative determination to revoke the Generally Recognized as Safe status for PHOs, which are the primary dietary source of trans fat. If the FDA determines that PHO are not safe, it could, in effect, mean the end of artificial, industrially-produced trans fat in food. This action conflates dietary well-being with safety, yet “unhealthy” is not the same as “unsafe.” The FDA’s attempt to achieve more expansive power could one day be used to regulate caffeine, sugar, sodium, and other ingredients commonly added to food. Congress should amend the FD&C Act to clarify that the FDA is not authorized to regulate food ingredients based on chronic diseases connected to individual dietary choices.

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