Trans fats (also known as trans fatty acids) are formed when hydrogen atoms are added to liquid oils (in a process called "partial hydrogenation") to form more solid fats like shortening and hard margarine.
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils work better in certain food applications (e.g., frying, baking, cooking) because they are more solid than oils. Thus, they give foods the desirable tastes, textures and keeping qualities people want and expect. They have often been used in making vegetable shortening, margarines, baked goods, candies, fried foods and other processed foods. A small amount of trans fat also occurs naturally in foods such as beef, veal, lamb, and foods containing milk fat, such as butter, whole milk, cream, cheese and ice cream.
Before 1990 very little was know about trans fats' impact on health. In the 1990s research suggested that unlike other fats, trans fats raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels and lower HDL ("good") cholesterol levels. High LDL cholesterol levels in combination with low HDL cholesterol levels increases the risk of heart disease. In June 2015 the FDA determined Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHO’s and a source of trans fats) are no longer generally recognized as safe and are required to be removed from food processing by June of 2018.
The 2015-2020 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends keeping the amount of trans fat consumed as low as possible, especially by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils, and by limiting other solid fats. Similarly, the American Heart Association recommends limiting intake of trans fat.
As part of our overall Health and Wellness initiatives, we continually work to enhance the nutritional profiles of our products, while delivering on consumers' expectations for quality and good taste. As a result of these efforts, over the past decade numerous Kraft Heinz products have been reformulated to remove trans fat. By June of 2018 all added trans fats will be removed from our products in compliance with the FDA’s Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils.
Since 2006, the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels must include the amount of trans fats in the product. While industrial sources of PHO’s will be removed from all foods by June of 2018, it is important to note trans fats will still appear on the label where they occur naturally in small amounts such as meat and dairy.