Last Updated: April 7, 2014
Topic: Partially Hydrogenated Oils
FDA has made a tentative determination that partially hydrogenated oils may no longer be considered “generally recognized as safe”. The decision is not a new rule or regulation, but the start of a potentially lengthy regulatory process intended to further reduce consumption of trans fats.
According to FDA, the mean intake of industrially produced trans fat has already decreased significantly over the past 10 years since the Agency instituted mandatory trans fat labeling.
This is the first time the FDA has used the GRAS process to address concerns about a nutrient such as trans fats. Typically the process has been used to evaluate the safety of ingredients, such as flavorings or preservatives, not the impact of the nutrients some ingredients deliver. If the decision is finalized, manufacturers would no longer be able to use PHOs without a food additive approval; however, the FDA is likely to give manufacturers a substantial period of time to come into compliance.
Finding viable replacements to PHOs will be a challenge for confectioners. Above all, candy products are sought by consumers as an indulgence and are eaten in moderate amounts. In the average American diet, candy only contributes about two percent of calories. Likewise, candy is a minor contributor to trans fat exposure.
NCA is working with our members in the confectionery industry to understand the impact of this proposal and has submitted comments to FDA. Read the Federal Register Notice.