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NEW YORK -- Online grocer FreshDirect said Friday it had removed all hydrogenated oils from items made in its central bakery and kitchen, in accordance with a recent request by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The cyber-retailer said the elimination of trans fats from its recipes and formulas began on Nov.
Previously about 10 percent of prepared foods, pastry, and catering items from FreshDirect contained hydrogenated oils. The company said that removing the hydrogenated oils "only improved the flavor and quality of these items."
Hydrogenated oils are vegetable oils that have undergone a chemical process to add hydrogen atoms. This process makes vegetable oil solid and shelf-stable at room temperature. The degree of hydrogenation is indicated by such terms as "partially hydrogenated" or "fully hydrogenated." Partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fatty acids, or trans fats, which can raise total blood cholesterol levels and LDL ("bad" cholesterol) while lowering HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels. This can boost the risk of heart disease, which results in heart attacks and higher risk of strokes.