The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing a ban on artificial trans fats in an attempt to combat rising rates of obesity and heart disease.
Should it be approved, the move will force packaged-food manufacturers to ditch trans fats in favour of safer, mono or polyunsaturated fats which could potentially prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year, ABC News reports.
FDA commissioner Simone Hamburg said, "While consumption of potentially harmful artificial trans fat has declined over the last two decades in the United States, current intake remains a significant public health concern."
The proposed ban has been welcomed by public health advocates including the executive director of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Michael Jacobson.
“Artificial trans fat is a uniquely powerful promoter of heart disease, and today's announcement will hasten its eventual disappearance from the food supply,” he said.
The move comes at time when nations around the world are acknowledging the pressing need to address food related health issues.
Mexico announced the introduction of an eight percent tax on junk foods – foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fat as well as a four percent tax per litre on sugary drinks.
Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto called for a ‘change of culture’, stating that; “We can't keep our arms crossed in front of a real overweight and obesity epidemic," the president said. "The lives of millions of Mexicans are literally at risk."