Many food manufacturers will remember that back in 2013, the FDA declared that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), or trans fats, were no longer considered safe for human consumption. Now, five years later, the FDA has prohibited food manufacturers from adding PHOs to their food products.
If you are a food manufacturer who adds PHOs to their products or who recently reformulated their products to remove PHOS, it’s important to understand the rules for FDA trans fat labeling. That way, you can make sure your company complies with government guidelines.
FDA Trans Fat Labeling: How to Ensure Compliance
The removal of PHOs from processed and packaged foods is a step towards better health for Americans. In fact, the FDA anticipates that by significantly reducing the amount of PHOs that Americans eat, thousands of deaths and heart attacks could be prevented each year.
With this exciting prospect in mind, let’s look at some of the things you need to know about the FDA trans fat labeling rules, starting with the compliance dates:
- June 18, 2018: Yes, it’s already passed, but this is the date the FDA set for food manufacturers to stop adding PHOs to their products. This means that if you haven’t already reformulated your trans-fat-containing product, you need to take care of that as soon as possible.
- January 20, 2020: Since products made before June 18, 2018, may still be on store shelves and could take a while to get out of distribution, the FDA has set this as the date that all products containing PFOs should be out of distribution. This extension is meant to provide a more orderly marketplace transition for food manufacturers and distributors.
Of course, with some products, it just isn’t possible to remove all the trans fats. Meat and dairy, for instance, contain small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats. Luckily, naturally occurring trans fats do not fall under the FDA trans fat ban, so you don’t need to worry about them—it’s the added trans fats you have to remove from your products.
Even if the trans fats in your product are naturally occurring, however, you need to make sure they are declared on your label. According to the FDA, trans fats should appear as “Trans fat” or “Trans” on the nutrition facts panel on a separate line located directly underneath “Saturated fat.” Values for trans fats must appear in grams per serving. If the value for your product is under 5 grams per serving, then you must round it to the nearest 0.5 gram. Values over 5 grams must be rounded to the nearest gram. If your product has 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving or less, it should be expressed as 0 grams per serving.
How to Determine How Much Trans Fat Your Product Contains
While the American public will certainly benefit from the FDA’s trans fat ban, food manufacturers can as well. Typically, products containing added trans fat, such as deep-fried products, require food lab analysis in order to create a nutrition facts panel. The problem is, lab analysis can be incredibly expensive, costing up to $700 per analysis.
Removing the trans fat, however, can make it easier for you to do your nutrition analysis with an online nutrition analysis software. Since online analysis costs as little as $225 per recipe, you could save a significant amount of money. Plus, using an online software will allow you to get your nutrition facts panel made quickly and easily.
What’s great about using a software like this is that all your values will be rounded according to FDA rounding rules, like the ones for trans fats. That way, as long as you’ve done your part and removed added trans fats from your product, you really don’t have to worry about FDA trans fat labeling because the software will do it for you.
While getting to use an affordable online nutrition analysis software to create your nutrition facts is exciting, the best thing about the partially hydrogenated oil ban is that Americans will no longer be exposed to a substance that is harmful to their health. This takes effort on the part of food manufacturers, but knowing that you are helping make America a healthier place makes the work worthwhile.
LabelCalc is an affordable, industry-leading online nutrition analysis software trusted by food manufacturers. Don’t have time to do your own nutrition analysis? Our expert consultants would be delighted to do the work for you. To learn more, contact us today.