FDA Sued for Failure to Ban Partially Hydrogenated Oils

August 13, 2013

By Ricardo Carvajal

Fred Kummerow, a Professor Emeritus at University of Illinois, sued FDA for failing to respond to his citizen petition (Docket No. FDA-2009-P-0382) asking the agency to ban partially hydrogenated oils containing artificial trans fat.  The citizen petition was submitted in August 2009, and the complaint contends that FDA has neither issued a substantive response nor taken the actions requested by the petition, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA").

The complaint contends that there is no safe level of artificial trans fat, and that such fat causes a number of diseases and damages vital organs.  The complaint further contends that “there is a clear difference between natural trans fat, which appears in dairy products and some meats from ruminant animals in the form of vaccenic acid, and artificial trans fat, which appears in partially hydrogenated oils.”  The former purportedly has no adverse health effects and therefore need not be regulated, while the latter is associated with adverse health effects and therefore should be banned as a poisonous or deleterious substance.

In addition to asking that the court declare FDA in violation of the APA, the complaint asks the court to compel FDA “to recognize partially hydrogenated oils as unsafe and ban their use in food by a Court-ordered deadline.”