Step 1. Look at the package label or ingredients list to see if “partially hydrogenated,” “shortening” or “margarine” are listed. If any of these terms appear, the product is likely to contain industrially produced trans fats.
Next, go to Step 2 to verify the amount of trans fats the product contains.
Step 2. Check the Nutrition Facts panel for trans fat content. The US FDA regulation allows the panel to indicate “0 grams of trans fat” if the amount of trans fat contained is less than 0.5 grams per serving.
If there is no Nutrition Facts panel on the product, go to Step 3.
Step 3. Ask your supplier to provide a letter from the manufacturer listing the product's ingredients. If the list contains the words “partially hydrogenated,” “shortening” or “margarine,“ the letter should also include information on the amount of trans fat in each serving. Keep the letter at your foodservice establishment if your local regulatory authority needs to review the trans fat information.
If your area has a regulatory policy to limit the amount of trans fat in restaurant foods, a Health Department inspector probably needs to review the Nutrition Facts Panel and ingredient labels for oils, shortenings and margarines. If there isn’t a nutrition label on the individual product container or container box, you will likely need a letter from the manufacturer listing the product’s ingredients. We encourage you to check with your local regulatory authorities for details.
Foodservice establishments that have changed to 0 grams trans fat products usually find that the cost differences are small. Contact your supplier to ask about prices, and start switching to products with 0 grams trans fat as soon as possible.
These terms describe a newer class of oils made from traditional plant sources, such as canola, soy, safflower, corn, sunflower, etc. These oilseeds have been bred, through conventional plant breeding and genetic engineering, to produce oils that are just as stable as partially hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats. You can use them in a commercial kitchen the same way you use oils containing trans fats, i.e., mostly in heavy-duty frying and baking applications. Traditional liquid vegetable (non-tropical) oils and these newer oils are healthier choices, because they are trans fat-free and low in saturated fat.
If you do only light or medium duty frying such as sautéing or pan frying or do deep frying only occasionally, we suggest you try one of the traditional liquid vegetable oils first. If that does not meet your needs or you do a lot of deep frying throughout the day, then we recommend you use these newer“low-linolenic” or “high oleic” oils to replace trans fats in your kitchen and in the same applications for which you have used partially hydrogenated oils containing trans fats. To further clarify, if you have used trans fat oils for your deep-frying applications, we encourage you to switch to healthier 0 grams trans fat oils such as these low-linolenic or high-oleic varieties. For light or medium-duty applications such as salad dressings where you have never used oils that contain trans fats, we encourage you to stay with your current oils.
Expeller pressing is a method of taking the oil from seeds without using chemicals. The result is a product higher in natural antioxidants, which makes the oil less likely to spoil. When an expeller-pressed oil is "refined," its smoke point goes up and it may become suitable for heavy-duty frying. Some refined expeller-pressed soy and canola oils are marketed as substitutes for hydrogenated oil.
Palm, palm kernel and coconut oils, the so-called “tropical oils,” are very high in saturated fat. When consumed they can raise blood cholesterol, which can increase one’s risk for heart disease. Even though they contain no trans fats, we recommend that you choose 0 grams trans fat oils that are also low in saturated fat instead of these tropical oils. Our 0 grams trans fat oil product lists show products according to their saturated fat content, from lowest to highest, and can help you choose healthier oils and fats for your customers.
Animal fats like lard and butter are very high in saturated fat. When consumed they can raise blood cholesterol, which can increase one’s risk for heart disease. Even though they don’t contain industrially produced trans fats, we recommend that you choose 0 grams trans fat oils that are low in saturated fat instead of these animal fats. Our 0 grams trans fat oil product lists show products according to their saturated fat content, from lowest to highest, and can help you choose healthier oils and fats for your customers.