After decades of use in food products in the United States, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils appear to be on their way out. Yesterday, FDA announced a tentative decision rescinding the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status for such oils, which it asserts is a consequence of the health impacts, namely heart disease, of trans fats contained in the oils. The CDC estimates that a trans fat ban could prevent 7,000 deaths and 20,000 heart attacks each year. For an interesting history of the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, see this NPR report. Industry does have an opportunity to submit scientific evidence supporting the safe use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, but many do not expect that to happen.