In mid June the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final determination that removes partially hydrogenated oils (PHO), the primary source of artificial trans fats in processed food, from the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) list of human food ingredients. But the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) says it has petitioned the agency to approve specific low-level uses of PHOs in food products. The petition says 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.
Bruner says most food and beverage companies have already voluntarily lowered the amount of trans fat added to food products by more than 86%. The petition asks for approval of PHO uses that are important for the production of safe food products, such as the use as color and flavor carriers and to deliver certain consumer-desired textural characteristics that other oils cannot provide.