SAFEGUARDS | Food NO. 109/15

SafeGuardS popcorn

On 16 June 2015 the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) published a measure which will reduce Trans Fats in processed foods. US FDA has revoked the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status of partially hydrogenated oils.

Eliminates GRAS status of Partially Hydrogenated Oils in Processed Foods   [1]

US FDA has made a determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are the primary source of trans fats and are to be no longer considered GRAS as there is no longer general consensus that they are safe.[2] Since the GRAS status of an ingredient is revoked, the products with this ingredient would require removal of that ingredient or petition the ingredient as a food additive and prove that it is safe for the level being used. The industry is being allowed until 18 June 2018 to remove PHOs or submit a food additive petition and have it reviewed. When the US FDA required trans fats to be listed in the Nutrition Facts panel they state that no level of trans fats is safe and therefore no food additive petition would be approved.

Some US jurisdictions, such as the State of California, Baltimore and Montgomery County in Maryland and New York City have imposed restrictions on the use of trans fats in some products. Other countries of the world such as the Danish and Canadian government have imposed restrictions on the allowable amount of trans fats in products containing PHOs. The US FDA does acknowledge that the amount of trans fats being consumed from products containing PHOs has fallen from 4.6g per day in 2003 to 1.0g per day in 2012. US FDA is stating if PHOs are removed from the food supply this could prevent 7,000 deaths and over 20,000 heart attacks per year.

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