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GMA petitions FDA on PHOs

10 Aug 2015

The US Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has petitioned the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to approve specific low-level uses of partially hydrogenated oil (PHOs) in food products. In a food additive petition filed with the FDA, GMA said the scientific evidence will enable FDA to find there is a “reasonable certainty of no harm” […]

GMA petitions FDA on PHOs

manikin-petition-orange-cartoon-character-ballpen-text-34676793The US Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has petitioned the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to approve specific low-level uses of partially hydrogenated oil (PHOs) in food products.

In a food additive petition filed with the FDA, GMA said the scientific evidence will enable FDA to find there is a “reasonable certainty of no harm” from consumption of PHOs from the uses and use levels specified in the submission.

“Our food additive petition shows that the presence of trans fat from the proposed low-level uses of PHOs is as safe as the naturally occurring trans fat present in the normal diet,” said Dr. Leon Bruner, GMA’s chief science officer. “It’s important to know that food and beverage companies have already voluntarily lowered the amount of trans fat added to food products by more than 86 percent and will continue lowering PHO use to levels similar to naturally occurring trans-fat found in the diet.”

GMA says that its food additive petition provides the most current information about the amount of trans fat consumed in U.S. diets today and is based on a comprehensive and highly detailed analysis of the latest scientific information available.

The petition seeks approval of PHO uses that are important for the production of safe food products. Examples of proposed uses include use as colour and flavour carriers and to deliver certain consumer-desired textural characteristics that other oils cannot provide (e.g., flakiness in doughs). PHOs also function as essential processing aids such as pan release agents, it said, so that products do not stick to baking trays and rollers during the manufacturing process.

FDA announced on June 16 its final determination that it was changing the regulatory status of PHOs from Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) to that of a food additive. This determination requires food manufacturers to submit a food additive petition for safe uses of PHOs and to phase out the uses of PHOs that are not included in a food additive petition by 2018.

When the FDA made its tentative determination on GRAS status for PHOs in late 2013 it encouraged the food industry to submit a food additive petition for proposed safe uses of PHOs. FDA is currently reviewing GMA’s food additive petition to confirm that it has all the necessary information for the agency to complete its evaluation.

GMA noted that FDA’s determination on PHOs on June 16 does not mean that trans fats have been banned, as has been erroneously reported. Trans fats occur naturally in beef, milk and other dairy products, and these naturally occurring trans fats will not be affected by the FDA action.