On August 5, 2015, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow the continued use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) for food products in specific low-levels.
The petition comes as a response to the FDAs June 16, 2015 regulatory change of PHO, removing it from the designation of “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use in human food, to making PHO a food additive. Under the food additive designation, each product containing any level of PHOs would need to be petitioned and approved by the FDA. The FDA is giving manufacturers three years to phase out the ingredient, by June 18, 2018, or to petition the FDA for approval.
In the submitted petition, GMA states that low-level use of PHOs meet the requirements for "GRAS” foods and that low-level use of PHOs is as safe as naturally occurring trans fats which are in beef, milk and other dairy products. According to the petition, trans fat can make up 1.5% of an individual’s caloric intake without affecting cholesterol levels.
If the FDA were to approve the low-level use of PHOs as “GRAS,” any product below the recommended levels would not be required to submit a petition and obtain approval by the FDA.
Written by Katharine Richter - Research Assistant
August 6, 2015