On Oct. 1, 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted for review a food additive petition from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). The group seeks approval for a specified set of low-level uses of partially hydrogenated oil (PHOs) in food products. This includes continued use as color and flavor carriers and to deliver consumer-desired textural characteristics that other oils cannot provide, such as flakiness in doughs. PHOs also function as essential processing aids, such as pan release agents that prevent products from sticking to baking trays and rollers during the manufacturing process.

“FDA’s acceptance of our food additive petition marks the beginning of the agency’s formal review process, and we look forward to working with FDA on achieving approval for these proposed low-level uses of PHOs,” said Leon Bruner, GMA’s chief science officer. “Our petition shows that the proposed PHO uses are as safe as the naturally occurring trans fat present in the normal diet.

“GMA’s food additive petition is based on a comprehensive and highly detailed analysis of the latest scientific information available and provides the most current information about the amount of PHO consumed in US diets today,” he continued. “Food and beverage companies have already voluntarily lowered the amount of trans fat added to food products by more than 86% and will continue lowering PHO-associated trans fats to levels similar to naturally occurring trans fats found in the diet.”