Since January, the company has been selling more than 600 grocery and snack options without PHOs, the primary source of artificial trans fats in processed food.
PHOs have been linked to rising rates of heart disease. The Food and Drug Administration in 2015 deemed PHOs not safe in human food and directed food manufacturers to remove them from products by 2018.
“We applaud CVS Pharmacy for working proactively to remove artificial trans fats from its store-brand products well in advance of the federal deadline,” said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention at the American Heart Association.
CVS said it is the first national retail pharmacy chain to remove artificial trans fats from all exclusive store-brand food products. The move advances the company’s goal of helping people on their path to better health, CVS said. The company noted that the removal of artificial trans fats in processed food is expected to aid in reducing coronary heart disease and help prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.
“At CVS Pharmacy we are dedicated to helping our customers lead healthier lives, and moved quickly to ensure all of our snack and grocery store brands products are free from artificial trans fats,” said Judy Sansone, senior vice president of front-store business and chief merchant at CVS Health. “Our commitment to producing high-quality products reinforces that CVS Pharmacy is a leading health destination.”
CVS Pharmacy continues to ensure that its own store brands demonstrate quality and innovation that match or exceed industry standards, while offering the best-possible value, the company said in announcing the move.
The retailer also said it is dedicating about a quarter of checkout space to better-for-you snack offerings.
Additionally, CVS Pharmacy is rolling out the CVS Health line of more than 2,500 health and wellness products across 19 categories. The proprietary brand focuses on “effective and affordable care as well as unexpected innovations,” the company said.
CVS also said that it planned to tag shelves with labels such as “heart healthy” or “sugar free” to make it easier for shoppers to find products fitting their nutritional and dietary preferences. And its stores will feature what the company called “healthy eating trend zones” that showcase curated selections of seasonably adjusted paleo, raw and vegan snacks.
CVS Pharmacy said it is committed to expanding its Gold Emblem abound snack and grocery line to provide customers with additional wholesome and tasty products free from artificial preservatives and flavors. The line offers a variety of products that are gluten free, organic, non-GMO project verified, heart healthy, low sodium and high in protein.