The Food and Drug Administration confirmed this week that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) will no longer be allowed in foods sold in the United States, unless their use is approved through a petition process. In a final determination published Wednesday, FDA said PHOs are no longer considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) due to their content of trans fat, which has been associated with negative health consequences.
The removal of GRAS status covers the PHOs that are used as processing aids and on food contact surfaces. FDA confirmed that this determination does not apply to naturally occurring trans fats, such as those in dairy products. The determination also does not include fully hydrogenated oils or ingredients that are derived from PHOs, and these are clarifications that IDFA had asked for in its comments to FDA November 2013 regarding the agency’s tentative finding on PHOs.
Companies will have until June 18, 2018, to comply with the requirements of the final determination. This compliance could involve either reformulation to completely remove PHOs or a petition to FDA for the continued use of the PHO by showing that the specific proposed use would not be harmful to human health. The final determination is available here.
IDFA will continue to analyze the determination and will continue to provide members with additional information. Members with questions may contact Michelle Matto, IDFA’s nutrition and labeling consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org.