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Getting rid of trans fats in the US diet: Policies, incentives and progress

Unnevehr, Laurian J., Jagmanaite, Evelina
Food policy 2008 v.33 no.6 pp. 497-503
trans fatty acids, food policy, diet, nutrition labeling, food composition, laws and regulations, product development, cooking fats and oils, markets, oil crops, food industry, food service, restaurant foods, food supply, United States
Artificial trans fats in foods increase chronic disease risk in the US population. Federal nutrition label regulation enacted in 2003 requires mandatory disclosure of trans fat content on packaged foods. This action created incentives for the food industry to reduce trans fats both in response to consumer demand and through competition to maintain product reputation. Subsequent public actions include a ban on trans fat use in New York city restaurants and lawsuits against food companies, which created further incentives to remove trans fats, especially in the food service industry. Industry has reformulated packaged foods and found substitutes for restaurant fry oils and trans fats are disappearing from the US food supply. Market response extends throughout the supply chain, and has spurred research to alter oilseed crop characteristics. The widespread and relatively rapid industry response likely has improved the quality of US diets, and demonstrates the potential for policy actions to spur such improvements.